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November 2008 Archives

40 Years Later, Merton’s Legacy Looms Large

posted by nsymmonds

TRAPPIST, Ky. — Around the country for the next few weeks, many Roman Catholics will remember and honor the life of Trappist monk Thomas Merton, who died 40 years ago on Dec. 10, 1968, in a freak electrocution accident. Merton, […]

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He’s Young, Tall, Handsome And a Possible Successor to Dalai Lama

posted by nsymmonds

SIDHBARI, India – Give the magnetic personality and hunky good looks of a rock star to a Tibetan Buddhist monk, and the result might be Gyalwang Karmapa, the third-highest lama in the Tibetan religious firmament. The Karmapa, as he is […]

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Hindus Find New Faiths In Marriage

posted by nsymmonds

NEWARK, N.J. — The perfect man for Aparna Kachalia, who was born to Hindu parents from Bombay, will be one who loves the 20-year-old sophomore at Dartmouth College and treats her well. If he happens to be Hindu, great. If […]

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Texas Officials Seeks DNA of Polygamist Sect Baby

posted by nsymmonds

SAN ANGELO, Texas – Child welfare authorities want a judge to order a teenage member of a polygamist sect to let them collect a DNA sample from her newborn so they can identify the father and determine if he’s an […]

Study Suggests Worship Services Reduces Risk of Death

posted by nsymmonds

JERUSALEM (RNS) Regularly attending religious services may significantly reduce the risk of death, according to a comprehensive study by researchers at Yeshiva University and its medical school, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. Findings of the study […]

Miami Judge Rules Against Florida Gay Adoption Ban

posted by nsymmonds

MIAMI – A judge on Tuesday overturned a strict Florida law that blocks gay people from adopting children, declaring there was no legal or scientific reason for sexual orientation alone to prohibit anyone from adopting. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman […]

Dalai Lama Urges Tibetan Exiles to Be Prudent

posted by nsymmonds

DHARMSALA, India – The Dalai Lama warned that the decadeslong dream of a free Tibet would be in danger if exiled leaders weren’t careful, after they said they might push for independence if China refuses to grant autonomy soon to […]

Muslim Charity Convicted in Terrorism Financing Trial

posted by nsymmonds

DALLAS – A Muslim charity and five of its former leaders were convicted Monday of funneling millions of dollars to the Palestinian militant group Hamas, finally handing the government a signature victory in its fight against terrorism funding. U.S. District […]

Appeals Court Lets Vatican Sex-Abuse Case Proceed

posted by nsymmonds

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – A lawsuit against the Vatican alleging top church officials should have warned the public or authorities of known or suspected sexual abuse of children by priests here can go ahead, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. The […]

Court Orders Arizona to Allow ‘Choose Life’ License Plates

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) A federal court has ruled that the Arizona License Plate Commission must approve an anti-abortion group’s “Choose Life” specialty license plate. The Arizona Life Coalition applied for the specialty license plate in 2002, but the Arizona License Plate […]

Muslim Civil Group Blasts NYPD `Terrorism’ Report

posted by nsymmonds

NEW YORK (RNS) A New York City Police Department report that characterizes young Muslim men as susceptible to Islamic extremism and “jihadization” is biased and unfair, a Muslim civil rights group said Thursday (Nov. 20). The Muslim American Civil Liberties […]

Germany Drops Attempt to Ban Scientology

posted by nsymmonds

POTSDAM, Germany – Germany is dropping its pursuit of a ban on Scientology after finding insufficient evidence of illegal activity, security officials said Friday. Domestic intelligence services will continue to monitor the group, officials said. The German branch of the […]

Sainthood Probe Starts in US for ‘Rosary Priest’

posted by akornfeld

Baltimore – Recognized widely for his catchphrase – “the family that prays together stays together” – the late Rev. Patrick Peyton spread his message to millions by radio and later television, using Hollywood stars to emphasize prayer and moral values. […]

eHarmony Agrees to Set Up Same-Sex Matching Site

posted by akornfeld

The online match-making site eHarmony has agreed to launch a same-sex matching service next March after settling allegations that the company violated New Jersey’s anti-discrimination law by excluding gays and lesbians. A New Jersey gay man filed a complaint with […]

Archaeologists Sketch Out Herod’s Desert Palace

posted by akornfeld

Jerusalem – Archaeologists who have analyzed artifacts discovered at Herodium, an ancient Judean palace built by King Herod, are more convinced than ever that the famed monarch was buried high atop the complex outside Jerusalem. Herod, who served as the […]

National Cathedral Slashes Staff, Budget

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) Washington National Cathedral announced dramatic cuts to its budget, programs and staff on Wednesday (Nov. 19) as the faltering economy continues to hit religious institutions nationwide. The landmark cathedral, which welcomes nearly 700,000 visitors a year and has […]

Seeking a Spiritual Home in D.C.: Pastors Hope Obama Will Become Member

posted by nsymmonds

Frederick Douglass once worshiped in the fifth pew on the 16th Street side of Metropolitan AME Church. President Bill Clinton prayed in the front pew before both of his inaugurations. Come January, members hope President-elect Barack Obama and his family […]

Bush Abortion Ruling Causes Furor

posted by nsymmonds

A last-minute Bush administration plan to grant sweeping new protections to health care providers who oppose abortion and other procedures on religious or moral grounds has provoked a torrent of objections, including a strenuous protest from the government agency that […]

Clergy Rally in D.C. for Homeowner Protections

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Clergy and congregants from more than 40 states gathered in front of the Department of Treasury on Tuesday (Nov. 18) to pray for Secretary Henry Paulson and members of Congress to put an end to the home foreclosure […]

Focus on the Family Cuts 200 Jobs

posted by akornfeld

The Colorado-based Focus on the Family will reduce its staff by about 200 positions, citing economic conditions. “There’s still a great demand for the resources we offer,” said Focus spokesman Gary Schneeberger on Tuesday (Nov. 18). “It’s simply a fact […]

Calif. Fires Destroy Hilltop Monastery

posted by akornfeld

Los Angeles – The wildfires that have burned approximately 40,000 acres and hundreds of homes in Southern California have also destroyed a historic Episcopal monastery set on a hill in Santa Barbara. Nancy Bullock, guesthouse director for the Mount Calvary […]

Tibetan Exiles Discussing New Path to Autonomy

posted by nsymmonds

DHARMSALA, India – Tibetan exile leaders opened weeklong discussions Monday over the direction of their movement to win autonomy from China, after the Dalai Lama, the region’s exiled spiritual leader, expressed frustration over years of fruitless talks with Beijing. The […]

Fort Worth is Fourth Diocese to Leave Episcopal Church

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) The Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, became the fourth to secede from the Episcopal Church Saturday (Nov. 15), when delegates voted to align with a more conservative branch of the Anglican Communion. Nearly 80 percent of clergy and lay […]

Annual List of Top Jews Mines from Election, Kosher Food News

posted by nsymmonds

NEW YORK (RNS) Famous — and infamous — American Jews associated with the election season and the ongoing problems in the kosher meat industry dominated The Forward newspaper’s list of 50 influential Jews this year. The Forward, the largest national […]

S.C. Priest Tells Obama Voters to Confess Before Communion

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON — A South Carolina Roman Catholic priest who had warned Barack Obama voters not to take Communion without first confessing their sin said Friday (Nov. 14) he will not deny the sacrament based on “political opinions or choices.” But […]

Mormon Mom and ‘Twilight’ Author Finds A Teachable Moment in Vampire Film

posted by nsymmonds

(UNDATED) Stories about love, lust and the undead may not seem like the best vehicle for teaching teens about faith and morality. But for Stephenie Meyer, who has been called “the Mormon Anne Rice,” her best-selling “Twilight” books and upcoming […]

US Priest Facing Excommunication Will Appeal

posted by nsymmonds

ALBANY, Georgia – A Georgia priest facing excommunication for supporting the ordination of women said Friday he plans to visit the Vatican with a contingent of fellow priests and a bishop to appeal the decision. Roy Bourgeois, 69, a Maryknoll […]

Faith Groups Ask Obama to Ban Use of Torture

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Hundreds of people rallied outside the White House on Wednesday (Nov. 12) as religious leaders from a number of faiths met with members of Congress while also urging President-elect Barack Obama to sign an executive order banning torture. […]

Study Finds More Conservative, Orthodox Jews Drawn to Prayer Groups

posted by akornfeld

Waltham, Mass. – The dozens of independent Jewish prayer groups cropping up all over the country in the past decade have mostly attracted worshipers with traditional roots, rather than converts or secular Jews, a new study reports. Based on a […]

Gay Activists Rally Outside Mormon Temple in NYC

posted by akornfeld

New York – Carrying signs reading “Love not H8″ and “Did you cast a ballot or a stone?”, a large crowd of gay-marriage supporters gathered outside a Mormon temple to protest the church’s endorsement of a same-sex marriage ban in […]

Supreme Court Referees Religious Monument Dispute

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court warily confronted a case Wednesday that mixes limits on free speech with issues of church-state separation. The justices engaged in lively arguments over a small religious group’s efforts to place a monument in a public […]

Anger Over Gay Marriage Vote Directed at Mormons

posted by nsymmonds

Supporters of gay marriage, frustrated over a ballot-box defeat in California, have channeled much of their anger toward the towering white spires of Mormon temples. For months, the Mormon church sought to portray itself as just one member of a […]

Devotees Flock to ‘Buddha Reincarnation’ in Nepal

posted by nsymmonds

RATANPUR, Nepal – The teenage boy revered by many as a reincarnation of Buddha sat silently in the jungle as he blessed his devotees Wednesday with a light tap on the head, which they consider the touch of the divine. […]

Vatican Urges Obama Not to Change Stem Cell Policy

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – Roman Catholic Church officials are sending messages to U.S. president-elect Barack Obama, saying they will oppose any changes in U.S. policies on embryonic stem cell research. Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, the pope’s health minister, on Tuesday reiterated […]

Economy Not Getting Faithful Down

posted by akornfeld

Washington – A survey shows religious Americans are less worried about the economy than they are about a “spiritual recession.” The Faithbook on Facebook poll released Tuesday found nearly 72 percent of respondents said such a spiritual recession was more […]

Mormon Comments Give Gays Hope for New Utah Laws

posted by akornfeld

Salt Lake City – Gay-rights activists see opportunities for their cause in Utah thanks to Mormon church officials, who strongly supported California’s proposition denying same-sex couples the right to marry but said they did not object to granting those couples […]

China Looks Beyond Current Dalai Lama

posted by nsymmonds

A Chinese official Monday called on the Dalai Lama to “correct his mistakes” and move closer to the central government.” China’s government officials provided more details Monday of their meeting last week with the spiritual leader’s representatives, Xinhua reported. “We […]

Cardinal: Abortion Undermines Common Good

posted by nsymmonds

BALTIMORE – The head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, opening a national church meeting Monday, said that continued support for abortion rights will undermine any advances in social justice that come from a new president and Congress. Chicago […]

Anti-Prop 8 Protest Near Oakland Mormon Temple

posted by nsymmonds

OAKLAND — Hundreds of protesters angry about last week’s voter passage of a ban on same-sex marriages in California gathered on the streets and sidewalks in front of the Mormon Temple, prompting officials to shut down nearby freeway off-ramps for […]

Top Jewish Leaders Say Collaboration is Key to Vitality

posted by nsymmonds

STAMFORD, Conn. — The Reform, Conservative and Orthodox streams of Judaism each have their particular responses to issues facing American Jews, but there’s no reason they can’t work to address those challenges together, the heads of the flagship educational institutions […]

Obama Election Shows Deep Racial Divide in Church

posted by nsymmonds

NEW YORK – The barrier-crossing election of Barack Obama did little to bridge the deep racial divide in American churches. In fact, some clergy say it has only served to underscore their differences. While nonwhite Christians voted overwhelmingly for Obama, […]

Thousands Protest Gay-Marriage Ban at Mormon Temple

posted by nsymmonds

LOS ANGELES – Outside the gates of a Mormon temple, Kai Cross joined more than 2,000 gay-rights advocates in a chorus of criticism of the church’s role in a new California-wide ban on same-sex marriage. Once a devout Mormon who […]

Ruth Graham’s Struggles Led to Ministry

posted by akornfeld

Nashville, Tenn. – Ruth Graham knows firsthand how life can be filled with heartache. The third of evangelist Billy Graham’s five children, she has dealt with a daughter’s teen pregnancies, another’s bulimia and a son’s drug use. She also struggled […]

On Heels of Biden Win, Bishops to Debate Catholics in Public Life

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Last November, the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops overwhelmingly approved a set of guidelines for Catholics to consider before they went to the voting booth. Only four bishops voted against the 36-page document, called “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” […]

American Muslims Relieved, Hopeful at Obama’s Election

posted by akornfeld

After months of balancing their support for the presidential candidate with concerns that their allegiance could do more harm than good, millions of relieved American Muslims cheered the election of the son of a Muslim immigrant whose middle name is […]

Pope Congratulates Obama on ‘Historic’ Election

posted by nsymmonds

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Barack Obama may not have been the Catholic hierarchy’s favored candidate in the U.S. presidential race because of his support for abortion rights, but the Vatican on Wednesday (Nov. 5) hailed his election as a “choice that […]

New Age Author Marilyn Ferguson Dies at 70

posted by nsymmonds

BANNING, California – Marilyn Ferguson, whose best-selling book “The Aquarian Conspiracy” helped establish the New Age movement by tying together its disparate threads, has died. She was 70. Ferguson died Oct. 19 at her home in western Riverside County. She […]

California Voters Approve Gay-Marriage Ban

posted by nsymmonds

LOS ANGELES – Voters put a stop to same-sex marriage in California, dealing a crushing defeat to gay-rights activists in a state they hoped would be a vanguard, and putting in doubt as many as 18,000 same-sex marriages conducted since […]

Thirty Years Later, Ghosts of Jonestown Live On

posted by akornfeld

In life, the approximately 900 people who followed the Rev. Jim Jones to build a utopian commune in the South American jungle in 1977 were relatively anonymous. But in death, the Jonestown pilgrims became front-page news when they died a […]

Dalai Lama Admits His Approach to Tibet Greater Autonomy Has Failed

posted by akornfeld

The Dalai Lama said Monday that his approach to Tibet’s greater autonomy has so far failed, and that Tibetans should decide for themselves the future direction the region should take. “My trust in the Chinese government has become thinner, thinner, […]

Vatican Hosts Meeting with Muslim Scholars

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – The Vatican is hosting a three-day Catholic-Muslim forum meant to improve relations strained by a speech made two years ago by Pope Benedict XVI that angered many in the Islamic world. The meetings will culminate in a […]

Polls Show Voters Closely Divided Over Abortion Proposition

posted by nsymmonds

California voters remain hotly divided over a proposed constitutional amendment that would require minors to notify their parents before getting an abortion. A recent Public Policy Institute poll found supporters of Proposition 4 — Sarah’s Law — slightly in the […]

Muslim’s Suit Over Scarves in Calif. Jail Settled

posted by nsymmonds

ORANGE, Calif. – A Southern California county will allow jailed Muslim women to wear headscarves after settling a lawsuit with a woman who claims that deputies violated her religious freedom by making her remove her hijab. The settlement agreement signed […]

Black Churches Shift Away from Politics

posted by nsymmonds

CLEVELAND — The preacher’s voice rises to a booming pitch. Near the end of his sermon, the Rev. David Cobb Jr. runs down a list of politicians in mesmerizing, rapid-fire rhythm: “You don’t really need Bush. You don’t really need […]

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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