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January 2009 Archives

Report: African-Americans Surpass Others in Religiosity

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) African-Americans surpass others in the U.S. in a range of expressions of faith, from praying more to attending religious services more frequently, a new report shows. “Compared with other racial and ethnic groups, African-Americans are among the most […]

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Pope Renews Full Solidarity to Jews

posted by nsymmonds

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday that he feels “full and indisputable solidarity” with Jews and warned against any denial of the full horror of the Holocaust. Benedict spoke days he revoked the excommunication of a bishop who […]

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NBC Rejects Anti-Abortion Super Bowl Ad

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON, Jan 30, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) — A Chicago-based Catholic organization says NBC-TV won’t air an anti-abortion video during Sunday’s Super Bowl that portrays President Obama as an unborn child. The spot has had more than 700,000 hits on […]

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Jewish Coalition Calls for Immigration Reform

posted by akornfeld

Jewish groups are asking the Obama administration to make immigration reform a priority for the new president’s first 100 days, by suspending raids on businesses and private homes and developing a path to citizenship for undocumented families. Progress by Pesach, […]

Anglicans Set to Consider Rival North American Church

posted by akornfeld

Conservative Anglicans say they do not expect their new North American church to receive official approval from Anglican archbishops who will convene next week (Feb. 1-5) in Alexandria, Egypt. “We do expect that our situation will be discussed,” said the […]

Obama Taps Campaign Aide to Head Religious Office

posted by akornfeld

Washington – President Barack Obama has chosen Joshua DuBois to lead his White House-based effort to steer federal social service dollars to religious charities and get them more involved in government anti-poverty efforts. DuBois, a political strategist who was religious […]

Churches Free This Year to Broadcast Super Bowl

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) Churches can hold parties to watch the upcoming Super Bowl with fewer restrictions this year. The Rutherford Institute, which joined members of Congress in challenging the National Football League’s previous rules, has reminded churches that they can host viewing […]

Israel’s Chief Rabbinate Severs Vatican Ties

posted by nsymmonds

JERUSALEM – Israel’s chief rabbinate severed ties with the Vatican on Wednesday to protest a papal decision to reinstate a bishop who publicly denied 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. The Jewish state’s highest religious authority sent a […]

Workplace Discrimination Claims On the Rise

posted by nsymmonds

(UNDATED) Complaints of religious discrimination in the workplace are on the rise, but civil rights advocates say that may not be such a bad thing. That’s because a likely reason for a steady rise in reported incidents has nothing to […]

Pope’s Current Controversy Obscured by Longer Vision

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – Ever since Pope Benedict XVI allowed schismatic bishops back into the Catholic fold last week, his decision has been met with abundant expressions of outrage and dismay, from both inside and outside the church. Yet the controversy […]

Russian Orthodox Church Electing New Head

posted by akornfeld

Moscow – Hundreds of Russian Orthodox Church electors convened Tuesday in Moscow for the first election of a patriarch since the fall of the officially atheist Soviet Union. The 711 electors, which include prominent businessmen and political figures as well […]

Study: Americans More Loyal to Charmin or Colgate Than Church

posted by akornfeld

Americans are more loyal to their toothpaste or toilet paper than to their religious denomination, making consumers more choosy about Charmin or Colgate than they are about church, according to a new survey. According to a Phoenix-based research firm, 16 […]

Business of Chinese New Year

posted by nsymmonds

Jan. 24–Its pageantry goes unnoticed in the ubiquitous, cheeky national ad campaigns for Las Vegas. But in the biggest casinos on the Strip, no detail from dining to decor is overlooked when it comes to Chinese New Year, an event […]

Pastor Admits Church Knew of New Allegations Against Haggard

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) The pastor of a Colorado Springs megachurch at the center of yet another sex scandal involving former pastor Ted Haggard told his congregation Sunday (Jan. 25) that he knew of the lurid allegations 18 months ago but “there’s nothing […]

Pope’s Internal Reconciliation Causes External Discord

posted by nsymmonds

VATICAN CITY — When Pope Benedict XVI allowed the leaders of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) back into the Catholic fold last week, he must have known that his move would cause controversy inside the church. The question […]

Obama Signs Order Reversing Abortion-Funds Policy

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Friday quietly ended the Bush administration’s ban on giving federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide information on the option. Liberal groups welcomed the decision, while abortion rights foes criticized the […]

Religious Leaders Praise Obama Directives on Torture, Guantanamo

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) Religious leaders from the U.S. Catholic bishops to evangelical human rights advocates have applauded President Obama’s executive order that essentially ends torture of detainees held by the U.S. government. On Thursday (Jan. 22), his second full day in […]

Vatican Launches Its Own YouTube Channel

posted by nsymmonds

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican extended its digital communications capabilities on Friday (Jan. 23), when it launched its own video channel on the Web site YouTube. The Vatican channel (www.youtube.com/vatican) features short video news clips about events involving Pope Benedict […]

In Troubled Times, Leaders Turn to St. Paul

posted by akornfeld

Washington – As President Obama addressed a nation suffering from economic crisis and waging two foreign wars on Tuesday (Jan. 20), he turned to a familiar source of presidential oratory amid hardship: St. Paul. “We remain a young nation but […]

Thousands of Abortion Foes Rally in Washington

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Tens of thousands of abortion opponents rallied Thursday on the National Mall to mark the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade amid concerns they could face political setbacks under the new president. The rally and subsequent march to […]

Rabbi Under Fire for Attending Inaugural Prayer Service

posted by akornfeld

Washington – An Orthodox rabbi broke Jewish law by participating in an interfaith prayer service on Wednesday (Jan. 21) at Washington National Cathedral, according to the Rabbinical Council of America. Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, who leads Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in New […]

Annual March for Life Rally Picks Up On Inaugural Themes

posted by nsymmonds

Jan. 21–Sharing the date with President Barack Obama’s inauguration didn’t hurt attendance at the annual March for Life rally on the Capitol steps Tuesday. More than 4,000 people gathered in the chilly afternoon to call for an end to abortion, […]

Young Muslims Ask Obama’s Help in Fighting Extremism

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) As Barack Obama begins his tenure as the first U.S. president with Muslim ancestry, a group of 300 young Muslim activists from 76 countries has asked him to promote policies that can help peacefully curtail religious extremism. The Muslim […]

Obama’s Prayer Service Reflects New Push Toward Diversity

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON — President Obama opened his first full day in office at the Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday (Jan. 21) with a diverse array of religious leaders, including the ceremony’s first-ever woman preacher, who urged him to hold onto his […]

Bishops Send Public Policy Wish List to Obama

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Even before he stepped into the Oval Office on Tuesday (Jan. 20) as America’s 44th president, the nation’s Catholic bishops sent Barack Obama their public policy wish list, with a special emphasis on “the fundamental right to life […]

With Warren and Lowery, Obama Sends Signals About Religious Outreach

posted by akornfeld

Washington – When President Obama rose to speak between the prayers offered by evangelical megachurch pastor Rick Warren and civil rights veteran Joseph Lowery, he indicated — without ever saying a word — the breadth of the religious outreach ahead […]

Obama Refashions America’s Old-Time (Civil) Religion

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Seeking to revive a dispirited nation, President Obama on Tuesday (Jan. 20) told Americans to get religion — civil religion. “We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside […]

N.Y. Hebrew Charter School Will Be Secular, Officials Say

posted by nsymmonds

NEW YORK (RNS) A new charter school will soon provide a free, secular alternative to private Jewish day schools or extracurricular religious education for students who wish to learn Hebrew. Despite the city’s large Jewish population and its dozens of […]

Seven States Sue to Block Controversial HHS Rule Involving Abortion

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) Seven states have sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, saying a new regulation that permits health care workers to abstain from providing abortions is illegal. The suit, filed Thursday (Jan. 15) by Connecticut Attorney General […]

Evangelicals, Progressives Announces Common Agenda

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) An evangelical-progressive coalition has developed an agenda aimed at moving beyond past divisions on hot-button social issues to seek policy changes on abortion, torture and other issues. After two years of discussion, they have concluded that their “Come […]

For Filmmaker Pelosi, Haggard Downfall Became Personal

posted by akornfeld

Los Angeles – Filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi never imagined that her 2007 documentary about evangelical America would give her a front row seat to the downfall of one of its biggest stars, megachurch pastor Ted Haggard. She also couldn’t have predicted […]

Vatican: Homosexual ‘Behavior’ in Seminaries Declines

posted by akornfeld

New York – A Vatican evaluation of U.S. Roman Catholic seminaries in response to the clergy sex abuse scandal concluded that administrators have largely been effective in rooting out “homosexual behavior” in the schools, although the agency said it persists. […]

US Races to Secure Truce Between Israel, Hamas

posted by akornfeld

Washington – The Bush administration is racing in its final moments to negotiate a deal with Israel that might allow the Jewish state to agree to a cease-fire with the militant Hamas movement and end its military operation in Gaza. […]

Blacks, Jews See a New Era Under Obama

posted by nsymmonds

CLEVELAND — Growing up in culturally diverse Shaker Heights, Ohio, the Rev. David Owens, a 48-year-old African-American, saw little interaction between blacks and Jews. Color, creed and class differences seemed too great to overcome. But Owens has seen a big […]

Groups Seek Executive Order Banning Torture

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) An interfaith coalition of religious groups has asked President-elect Barack Obama to sign an executive order banning torture on his first day in office. Members of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture sent Obama a letter with their […]

In `the Almighty,’ Bush Sees a Providential God

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON — Throughout his eight years in the Oval Office, President Bush frequently made public references to God, but instead of always using the traditional Judeo-Christian term for the divine, he often chose the more generic “Almighty.” “We can be […]

Italy Rabbis: Pope Canceling Interfaith Progress

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – Italy’s rabbis said Tuesday they were pulling out of the Italian Catholic Church’s annual celebration of Judaism, saying recent decisions by Pope Benedict XVI were negating 50 years of interfaith progress. The chief rabbi of Venice, Elia […]

Gospel Pioneer Willa Mae Dorsey Dies at 75

posted by akornfeld

Willa Mae Dorsey, whose gospel-singing career lasted 56 years, filled five albums, won her a Grammy nomination and introduced black gospel music to many white congregations, died Jan. 5 at age 75. Dorsey, who was born in Atlanta, lived in […]

Anti-Abortion Forces Target Planned Parenthood

posted by akornfeld

Undeterred by solid Democratic gains in November’s national elections, religious conservatives who oppose abortion are going on the offensive with a new weapon: a sick economy. In its largest-ever state-based initiative, the Family Research Council (FRC) is contacting every state […]

ACLU Claims Catholic Bishops Misusing Grant Money

posted by nsymmonds

BOSTON – A new lawsuit claims Catholic bishops are wrongly imposing their beliefs on victims of human trafficking by not letting federal grant money be used for emergency contraception, condoms or abortions. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the complaint […]

Gay Bishop, Woman Added to Obama’s Inaugural Prayers

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON — After choosing an evangelical pastor to deliver the invocation at his swearing-in, President-elect Barack Obama has chosen two progressive Protestant leaders — a woman and an openly gay bishop– to bookend his inaugural ceremonies. “It reflects his commitment […]

Cleveland Clergy Fail in Bid to Ditch Domestic Partner Registry

posted by nsymmonds

CLEVELAND (RNS) A group of Cleveland pastors who tried to trigger a referendum to overturn the city’s domestic-partner registry have come up short in their bid for signatures. The group, led by the Rev. C. Jay Matthews of Mount Sinai […]

After Madoff Scandal, Jewish Yeshivas Say They Can’t ‘Go It Alone’

posted by nsymmonds

NEW YORK — Parents losing their Wall Street jobs, benefactors with plummeting portfolios scaling back on donations — it’s a one-two punch that has sent many Jewish day schools reeling in recent weeks. At the prestigious Ramaz School on Manhattan’s […]

Beliefnet Statement on Neale Donald Walsch Blog Posting

posted by nstephens

In a December 28, 2008 post to his blog, author Neale Donald Walsch posted an essay under his byline that had actually been written by another writer, Candy Chand. As a result, Mr. Walsch has decided to remove himself from […]

Catholic Theologian Richard John Neuhaus Dies at 72

posted by akornfeld

The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, an eminent Catholic intellectual who tutored President Bush in Catholic social teaching and helped build the political coalition that made his election possible, died Thursday (Jan. 8) at age 72. Neuhaus died soon after 10 […]

Sikh Sues IRS After Losing Job Over Religious Knife

posted by akornfeld

A Sikh woman sued the Internal Revenue Service this week, alleging that the IRS violated her religious freedom by prohibiting her from wearing a small ceremonial knife to her job as a revenue agent. The lawsuit, filed in Houston federal […]

Some Afghan Women Say Death by Fire is Their Only Choice

posted by nsymmonds

HERAT, Afghanistan — Simagol Yousefi was only 20 when her husband, Abdul, traveled to Iran to find work, leaving her and their two young sons in the care of her in-laws. Yousefi said it soon became clear she and her […]

Library of Congress Seeks Inaugural Sermons

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center is seeking sermons that are preached in U.S. houses of worship during inaugural week. The library said it would mark the historic inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama as the nation’s first […]

Police Evict Catholics from Shuttered New Orleans Churches

posted by nsymmonds

NEW ORLEANS — Police evicted parishioners from two New Orleans Catholic churches on Tuesday (Jan. 6), apparently ending a 72-day standoff that began when parishioners moved into the churches and occupied them around the clock to save them from closure. […]

Gaza Conflict Spreads to Europe with Jews Attacked

posted by akornfeld

Paris – Signs are mounting that the conflict in Gaza is starting to spill over into violence in Europe’s towns and cities, with assaults against Jews and arson attacks on Jewish congregations in France, Sweden and Britain. Assailants rammed a […]

Calif. Court Ruling May Impact Church Property Fights

posted by akornfeld

The Episcopal Church claimed a major legal victory Monday (Jan. 5) when California’s Supreme Court ruled that breakaway parishes do not have the right to keep church property if they secede from the national denomination. And while the decision technically […]

Vatican Bars U.S. Jesuit from Teaching About Christ

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – An American Catholic theologian censured by the Vatican for “grave doctrinal errors” has been told to cease teaching about the nature and identity of Jesus Christ. The Rev. Roger Haight, a Jesuit, has been asked by the […]

9 Muslims Removed from Flight Get AirTran Apology

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON – AirTran Airways apologized Friday to nine Muslims kicked off a New Year’s Day flight to Florida after other passengers reported hearing a suspicious remark about airplane security. One of the passengers said the confusion started at Reagan National […]

Honoring Christ’s Baptism: Feast Marks End of Christmas Season

posted by nsymmonds

The Rev. Rick Lawson hates the sight of discarded Christmas trees in the gutter as he drives home from church on Christmas Day. He winces at the day-after rush to the stores. “Nothing is more shocking to me,” says Lawson, […]

Pope Looks Ahead to Busy Year

posted by nsymmonds

VATICAN CITY — With fresh fighting in the Holy Land and the global economy in ever-deeper crisis, Pope Benedict XVI starts 2009 with poverty and war among his most urgent concerns. Those issues also loom large in his agenda for […]

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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