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October 2008 Archives

Dole’s Competitor Files Defamation Suit Over ‘Godless’ Claim

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) Democrat Kay Hagan filed a defamation suit Thursday (Oct. 30) against Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s re-election campaign, saying her opponent for a Senate seat from North Carolina inaccurately accused her of having ties to an atheist political action committee. […]

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Anne Rice Goes from Vampires to Jesus Biographer

posted by nsymmonds

NEW ORLEANS – It’s Halloween, and Anne Rice has a new book – a memoir in fact – that’s climbing best-seller lists. Everything is normal, then. Normal if it were 1994 – the height of Rice’s megaselling fame as a […]

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Archaeologist Says He Found Oldest Hebrew Writing

posted by nsymmonds

HIRBET QEIYAFA, Israel – An Israeli archaeologist has discovered what he believes is the oldest known Hebrew inscription on a 3,000-year-old pottery shard – a find that suggests Biblical accounts of the ancient Israelite kingdom of David could have been […]

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Report: Pope Considering Freeze on Pius Sainthood

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – A Jewish leader says Pope Benedict XVI is considering a request to freeze the sainthood process for wartime Pope Pius XII, who critics say did not speak out enough during World War II to save Jews amid […]

Polygamous Groups Produce Voters’ Guide

posted by akornfeld

Utah’s polygamous groups are once again circulating a voters’ guide that ranks political candidates and their views on issues important to fundamentalist communities. This year’s ratings were based on responses or actions related to campaign ethics and civil rights. Among […]

Paranormal Beliefs Aren’t Always Treated Equally

posted by akornfeld

On Friday (Oct. 31), no one will be surprised to see ghosts and goblins on the loose. But for some Americans, ghosts — along with extraterrestrials, Bigfoot and UFOs — aren’t the stuff of seasonal sightings or tabloid teasers. They’re […]

Many, But Not All, Hispanic Voters Swing to Obama

posted by nsymmonds

(UNDATED) Naomi Gonzalez grew up poor in Chicago, bouncing among nine foster homes while her father served time in prison. The single mother of four believes Barack Obama understands her struggle. “He’s come from poverty, he comes from a single […]

Churches Are Looking at Hard Times

posted by nsymmonds

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – On a recent Sunday, the Rev. Richard Mahan scrapped a sermon on forgiveness. He felt compelled instead to address the economic turmoil battering the nation. “Everybody’s facing hard times,” he told worshippers at St. Timothy Lutheran Church […]

Embryonic Stem Cell Measure Draws Big Bucks in Michigan

posted by nsymmonds

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (RNS) The hottest campaign in Michigan this fall features no candidate, but an embryo. In the fight over Proposal 2, advocates and opponents are spending millions to shape voter opinion on a proposal to loosen current restrictions […]

Democrats Gain Traction with Faith-Based Voter Outreach

posted by akornfeld

When she was director of religious outreach for John Kerry’s Democratic presidential campaign four years ago, Mara Vanderslice could hardly have seemed lower on the campaign totem pole. “I had one unpaid intern who didn’t have a phone,” she said. […]

Vatican Asks End to Religious Violence in India

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – The Vatican is appealing for an end to religious violence in India, seeking to halt anti-Christian rampages by Hindu extremists. The Vatican used its annual message for the Hindu Diwali festival of light, praising the father of […]

Buddhists Get Engaged in Race for President

posted by akornfeld

By most counts, several times more people live in New York City than practice Buddhism nationwide. So American Buddhists aren’t likely to become a political machine or a crucial swing vote any time soon. But as the religion born in […]

Palin Promises to Work with Israel’s Ambassador

posted by akornfeld

Leesburg, Virginia – Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin told a cheering crowd Monday that Democrats would raise taxes and “punish hard work” if Virginia voters break a 44-year preference for Republican presidents and help send Barack Obama to the […]

Award to Justice Breyer Spurs Catholic Protest

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Fordham University’s plan to give an award to Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has drawn criticism from alumni and the leader of the Catholic church in New York over Breyer’s support for abortion rights. Cardinal Edward Egan has […]

Dalai Lama Says He Has Given Up on China Talks

posted by akornfeld

Dharmsala, India – The Dalai Lama said Saturday he has given up on efforts to convince Beijing to allow greater autonomy for Tibet under Chinese rule. The Tibetan spiritual leader said he would now ask the Tibetan people to decide […]

Germany Presents Israel Holocaust-Era Directory

posted by nsymmonds

JERUSALEM – The German government on Thursday handed Israel’s national Holocaust memorial the personal details of 600,000 Jewish residents of Nazi Germany, the most comprehensive record to date of German-Jewish life during the Nazi era. German Culture Minister Bernd Neumann […]

N.Y. Court: Episcopal Church, Diocese Keep Property of Separatist Church

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) New York state’s high court ruled Thursday (Oct. 23) that the Episcopal Church and Diocese of Rochester are entitled to keep the property of a parish that has seceded and joined another branch of the Anglican Communion. All Saints […]

For Mormons, California’s Prop 8 Battle Turns Personal

posted by nsymmonds

California’s battle to define marriage as between a man and a woman is getting personal and nasty — especially for Mormons on both sides of the political debate. Opponents of Proposition 8, a ballot measure to thwart gay marriage, have […]

Poll: U.S. Is Blessed, But Troublesome in the World

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Six in 10 Americans think the U.S. is “uniquely blessed” by God, but a higher percentage — almost eight in 10 — think the country sometimes does more harm than good when it relates to the rest of […]

Justice Department Permits World Vision’s Hiring Policy

posted by akornfeld

Washington – The U.S. Justice Department recently disclosed a 2007 ruling by its Office of Legal Counsel that permitted the relief agency World Vision to keep a $1.5 million grant despite its policy of hiring only Christians. World Vision successfully […]

Holocaust Museum Urges Vatican to Open Archive on Pope Pius

posted by akornfeld

Washington – The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on Wednesday renewed its push for the Vatican to open its archives for Europe’s Holocaust period, saying it would allow historical conclusions to be based on fact and not rhetoric. The call […]

Catholics Try to Block Eucharist Desecration Videos

posted by nsymmonds

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (RNS) Roman Catholics in North America and Britain are calling for a series of YouTube videos showing a Canadian teenager destroying Communion hosts to be removed from the Internet. The Quebec teenager named Dominique, who tags himself […]

Palin Says Election Result Rests in God’s Hands

posted by nsymmonds

DENVER – Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin describes herself as a “hard-core pro-lifer” and expresses confidence that in spite of disheartening polls, “putting this in God’s hands, that the right thing for America will be done at the end […]

Authors Say Church Got It Wrong by Emphasizing Crucifixion

posted by nsymmonds

(UNDATED) “It took Jesus a thousand years to die. Images of his corpse did not appear in churches until the tenth century.” Those are the provocative opening sentences of the new book, “Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This […]

Secular Voters Feel Abandoned, Ignored by Candidates

posted by akornfeld

Lori Lipman Brown has had her fill of God-talk. “It’s a very frustrating time,” said Brown, director of the Washington-based Secular Coalition for America, the first lobbying organization devoted to secular issues. “All of us have been very hopeful that […]

Survey: White Literalists Less Likely to Vote for Minority Candidate

posted by akornfeld

More than eight in 10 white Americans would vote for a racial minority for president, but fewer whites who take the Bible literally or who worship in an all-white congregation would do the same, according to a recent survey. Research […]

All Eyes on California’s High-Stakes Gay Marriage Fight

posted by akornfeld

Pastor Jim Garlow is fasting and praying at his megachurch in La Mesa, Calif., to encourage fellow California evangelicals to vote for Proposition 8, which would amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Jan Garbosky, meanwhile, married her lesbian […]

Ex-Mormon Calendar-Maker Has BYU Diploma Yanked

posted by nsymmonds

SALT LAKE CITY – Brigham Young University has yanked the diploma of a man who created a calendar featuring shirtless Mormon missionaries and was later excommunicated from the church. Chad Hardy of Las Vegas attended graduation ceremonies Aug. 15 after […]

Vatican-Israeli Tensions Flare Over Wartime Pontiff

posted by nsymmonds

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Catholic-Jewish tensions over Pope Pius XII flared again after a church official suggested on Saturday (Oct. 18) that a Jerusalem museum exhibit about the World War II-era pontiff was an impediment to Israeli-Vatican relations. The statement prompted […]

California Clerics Ousted for Leaving Episcopal Church

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) An Episcopal Church committee voted Friday (Oct. 17) to oust more than 50 California clerics who left the denomination last year to join a more conservative province in the Anglican Communion. The 16 deacons and 36 priests have six […]

Jewish Author Says Year with Jesus Restored His Faith

posted by nsymmonds

Jesus, many Christians might tell you, saved their lives. Benyamin Cohen, founder and editor of American Jewish Life and Jewsweek, credits the carpenter with helping to save his faith. At first glance, you might think Cohen’s story would be markedly […]

French Jewish Group Opposes Pius XII Sainthood

posted by nsymmonds

PARIS – France’s main Jewish organization warned on Friday that Church efforts to make wartime Pope Pius XII a saint would deal “a severe blow” to relations between Catholics and Jews. The warning from the umbrella organization of French Jewish […]

In Key Battleground State, Religious Patterns Seem Stable

posted by nsymmonds

HERSHEY, Pa. — A group of twentysomethings at the Evangelical Free Church of Hershey spoke admiringly about Barack Obama’s eloquence, his impulse to heal divides and his historic campaign as a black man nominated for the presidency. But only one […]

Episcopal Priest Sanctioned for Professing to Be a Muslim

posted by akornfeld

A Seattle Episcopal priest who claims to be both Christian and Muslim has been restricted from public ministry and will be defrocked unless she “reclaims” Christianity by next April, the Episcopal Church announced. The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding has “abandoned” […]

Lay Catholics Push Back on Abortion and Politics

posted by akornfeld

When Carl Anderson publicly rebuked Sen. Joe Biden last month for opposing the Catholic Church’s stance on abortion, Anderson said he was speaking “on behalf of the 1.28 million” Knights of Columbus in the U.S. Everyone, that is, except for […]

Churches Push Fair-Trade Chocolates for Halloween

posted by akornfeld

Halloween’s a time for pumpkins, costumes, and — if some faith-based groups have their way this year — global market awareness. Faith organizations and congregations around the country are promoting fair-trade chocolate for trick-or-treaters to raise consciousness about conditions and […]

Rastafarian Files Suit after UPS tells Him to Cut Dreadlocks

posted by nsymmonds

HARRISBURG, Pa. (RNS) After being hired as a driver for UPS Freight, Nieland Bynoe, a Rastafarian, attended an orientation meeting last year and was told that he would have to shave his beard and cut off his dreadlocks to comply […]

Methodist, NCC Officials Urge Civility in Campaign

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) In the final weeks of the presidential campaign, two top U.S. faith leaders are urging a return to civility between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain. The political discourse has shifted from important issues facing the country […]

Thousands of Christians March in Jerusalem Parade

posted by nsymmonds

JERUSALEM – Thousands of Christians from around the world, waving blue and white Israeli flags, marched Wednesday in a colorful holiday parade in Jerusalem to commemorate a Jewish holiday and show their support for Israel. The annual parade to mark […]

Christians Denounce Attacks by Hindus in India

posted by akornfeld

New Delhi – Indian church leaders said Tuesday that Christians killed in recent clashes were “sacrificial lambs” targeted by hard-line Hindus seeking an advantage in upcoming national elections. The All India Christian Council said the toll after nearly two months […]

Billy Graham Returns Home After Brief Hospital Stay

posted by akornfeld

Evangelist Billy Graham is out of the hospital and resting at home after tripping over his dog. Graham spokesman A. Larry Ross said the 89-year-old evangelist spent Friday night (Oct. 10) at Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C., in part because […]

China Jails Tibetan Monks Convicted in Bomb Blast

posted by akornfeld

Beijing – Eight Buddhist monks convicted of bombing a government building in Tibet during an anti-government uprising in March have been sentenced to prison, two of them for life, a judge said Tuesday. The monks were sentenced at the People’s […]

Amish Report Shows Strong Growth Beyond Pa. Homeland

posted by nsymmonds

(UNDATED) The Amish are often portrayed as the most rooted of communities, who seldom venture off the farm except for short trips by horse and buggy. In fact, nearly 11,600 Amish households have picked up and moved to a different […]

Does Truth Even Matter Anymore?

posted by nsymmonds

(UNDATED) Distortions, stretches, half-truths and omissions are familiar features of political campaigns. But independent fact-checkers and analysts say that outright falsehoods in candidates’ ads may be reaching a level not seen since TV commercials entered presidential politics more than a […]

Conn. High Court Rules Same-Sex Couples Can Marry

posted by nsymmonds

HARTFORD, Conn. – Connecticut’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have the right to marry, making the state the third behind Massachusetts and California to legalize such unions. The divided court ruled 4-3 that gay and lesbian couples cannot […]

Pope Defends Wartime Pontiff on Judaism’s Holiest Day

posted by nsymmonds

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI marked the 50th anniversary of the death of Pope Pius XII on Thursday (Oct. 9), praying that the World War II-era pontiff would reach the next step on the road to sainthood, and defending […]

Leaders Call for Unity at Mormon General Conference

posted by nsymmonds

SALT LAKE CITY – Mormons should strive for unity at home, in the church and with those whose backgrounds and opinions differ from Latter-day Saints, a senior church leader said. Henry B. Eyring, the senior counselor in the First Presidency […]

Large Jain Temple Opens in California

posted by nsymmonds

BUENA PARK, Calif. – In a suburban landscape dotted with evangelical megachurches and auto malls, followers of an Indian religion thousands of years old spent days decorating marble idols and lighting incense to herald the opening of one of their […]

Religious leaders condemn `Obsession’ DVD

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders condemned the DVD “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” that has been circulated in U.S. newspapers and urged Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain to do the same. More than 20 million […]

In Key Battleground State, Jewish Voters Get Fidgety

posted by nsymmonds

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — The stuff Harold Males is saying around his synagogue here might have shocked people’s sensibilities a few years ago. Like his contention that evangelical Christians make good friends. “They’re not dangerous people, not to me,” he […]

Cafardi Leaves Trustee Post After Obama Endorsement

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) Catholic legal scholar Nicholas Cafardi, who recently endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for president, has resigned as a trustee of Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, an outpost of conservative Catholicism. Cafardi, an expert in civil and canon law, said […]

Study Suggests Zen Meditation Can Ease a Turbulent Mind

posted by akornfeld

Zen Buddhist meditation may help treat depression, attention deficit disorder and anxiety, among other maladies, according to a recent study by Emory University neuroscientists. Mental illness such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression are characterized in part by “excessive rumination” or […]

50 Years On, Wartime Pope Overshadows Catholic-Jewish Talks

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – On Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate a special Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Pope Pius XII. The fact that Oct. 9 this year coincides with Yom Kippur, […]

Economy Peeling Some Evangelicals from GOP

posted by akornfeld

Nashville – The U.S. conservative evangelical Christian vote is still the Republican Party’s to lose, but the poor economy may be peeling some of them off, analysts say. Voters who value moral issues such as opposition to abortion and gay […]

Atheists File Suit Over National Day of Prayer

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) A Wisconsin-based group of atheists and agnostics has filed suit against President Bush over the federal law designating a National Day of Prayer. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which urges a strict separation of church and state, also […]

Pittsburgh Diocese Votes to Leave Episcopal Church

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) The Diocese of Pittsburgh voted Saturday (Oct. 4) to split from the Episcopal Church, becoming the second diocese to leave the national church over differences on homosexuality and the Bible. A wide majority of clergy and lay people — […]

Supreme Court Rejects Jury Bible Case

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider a murder case in which a jury foreman read passages of the Bible to hold-out jurors who subsequently voted to impose the death penalty. Without comment, the justices declined to […]

Mainland Chinese Bishops Absent at Vatican

posted by nsymmonds

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican said Friday that no bishops from mainland China will be attending a worldwide meeting of prelates in Rome next week – a clear sign there has been no breakthrough in the Vatican’s efforts to improve […]

Episcopal Bishop Ousted in Cover-Up

posted by nsymmonds

PHILADELPHIA – An Episcopal bishop has been defrocked after a church panel found him guilty of covering up his brother’s sexual assaults of a teenage girl in the 1970s. Charles E. Bennison Jr., 64, deserved to be ousted from the […]

Second Couple Indicted in Faith-Healing Death of Child

posted by nsymmonds

OREGON CITY, Ore. (RNS) A couple who tried to heal their gravely ill son with prayer surrendered to authorities on Thursday (Oct. 2), a day after they were indicted by a grand jury on charges of criminally negligent homicide. The […]

Yeshiva Dispute Pits Jew Against Jew in N.J. Town

posted by akornfeld

New Jersey – Bert Ellentuck watched the adolescent boys with tzistzis and yarmulkes shooting hoops next door and sighed. “The people who settled this town were Jews; oh, they were socialists, communists and anti-religion, but they were Jews,” Ellentuck said. […]

Publisher Speeds Up Release of Book About Muhammad

posted by akornfeld

New York – With British publication in doubt for Sherry Jones’ “The Jewel of Medina,” the U.S. publisher of her controversial novel about the Prophet Muhammad has moved up the release date from Oct. 15 to Monday. “By speeding up […]

Midwest Methodists May Be ‘Sleeper’ Win for Obama

posted by akornfeld

When the Rev. John Edgar cast his ballot Tuesday (Sept. 30) as part of Ohio’s early voting program, he had two things in mind: his faith and the economy. He checked the box for Sen. Barack Obama. “Particularly with his […]

Battle of Religious Symbol Roils Hamptons Village

posted by nsymmonds

WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. – They are largely invisible, sometimes as simple as a small, plastic marker affixed to a utility pole. There’s one around the White House and one in Manhattan that sprawls from the East River to the Hudson. […]

India Struggles with Hindu Attacks on Christians

posted by nsymmonds

NEW DELHI – Nearly a year of attacks on Christians have put India’s leaders on edge, and the latest flare-up in violence drew an angry denunciation from the country’s Sikh prime minister as “acts of national shame.” “We are a […]

Faithful See Virgin in Springfield Hospital Window

posted by nsymmonds

Hundreds of devout Catholics and curious onlookers have gathered to pray, weep and chant outside a Catholic hospital window in Springfield, Mass., where an image that some say looks like the Virgin Mary has appeared. Kevin Leeman, a maintenance worker […]

Previous Posts

Hispanics turning evangelical, Jews secular
Worship service attendance is up in New York City, but down among young adult Jews, according to recent studies. On the other hand, fewer Spanish-speaking teens are attending Catholic mass, but more are showing up at Evangelical churches. [caption id="attachment_12343" align="alignleft" width="48

posted 3:10:30pm Nov. 05, 2013 | read full post »

Billy Graham: I know where I'm going
“Daddy thinks the Lord will allow him to live to 95,” said Franklin Graham recently. It was not a prophecy but a hope, Franklin explained, that he would live to see the beginning of a Christian re

posted 10:02:01am Oct. 24, 2013 | read full post »

Are All These Christians' Complaints of Persecution Just So Much Empty Whining?
The headlines are alarming: “Catholic-Owned Company Wins Religious Freedom Court Decision,” “Death Toll Rises to 65 in Boko Haram Attack on Students,” “Little Sisters Catholic Charity Victimized By Obamacare,” “Christians Sought Out, Murdered in the Kenyan Mall Massacre,” “Judicial

posted 2:41:26am Oct. 07, 2013 | read full post »

How can Christians defend themselves against today's random violence?
So, a crazed gunman opens fire and you’re caught in the middle. How can you survive? Heroes come in all sorts of packages. And they wield all sorts of defensive weapons. Such as guns and Jesus. Sometimes both at the same time. [caption id="attachment_12246" align="alignleft" width="480"] Ant

posted 2:53:48pm Sep. 27, 2013 | read full post »

Does Sunday Morning Church Really Need All This Glitter, Showmanship and Gimmickry?
What’s wrong with church today? Are we in danger of turning worship into a flashy concert? Of watering down the message so nobody is offended? Of forgetting the simplicity of the Gospel? I grew up with a preacher’s kid. He was a fake following in the footsteps of his flimflamming father who d

posted 11:26:20am Sep. 20, 2013 | read full post »

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