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February 2009 Archives

Women from Across Judaism to Gather for Prayer Event in New York

posted by nsymmonds

NEW YORK — More than 350 women from four Jewish movements will gather in New York City (March 1) for an unprecedented dialogue on female spirituality in Judaism. Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Jewish participants in the sold-out event, called […]

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Vatican: Bishop’s Apology on Holocaust Not Enough

posted by nsymmonds

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican said Friday that the apology issued by an ultraconservative bishop who denied the Holocaust was not good enough to admit him into the Catholic Church as a clergyman. Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said Bishop […]

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Dobson Resigns as Chairman of Focus on the Family

posted by nsymmonds

DENVER – Conservative evangelical leader James Dobson has resigned as chairman of Focus on the Family but will continue to play a prominent role at the organization he founded more than three decades ago. Dobson notified the board of his […]

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Group Probed for Helping People Die Defends Work

posted by akornfeld

Atlanta – As authorities try to determine how many deaths nationwide may be linked to an alleged assisted suicide ring, members of the group known as the Final Exit Network are defending a mission they call “self-deliverance.” The network’s president, […]

Report: Bishop Who Had Denied Holocaust Apologizes

posted by akornfeld

Rome – A British bishop whose denial of the Holocaust embroiled Pope Benedict XVI in controversy has apologized for his remarks, a Catholic news agency said Thursday. Bishop Richard Williamson, with the conservative Society of St. Pius X, had faced […]

House Members Call for Anti-Abortion Steps in Spending Bill

posted by akornfeld

More than 180 House members sent a letter to House Democratic leaders on Wednesday (Feb. 25), calling for upcoming spending bills to maintain longstanding anti-abortion provisions. “These measures … reflect the moral concerns of many Americans who do not wish […]

Study: Compared to Christians, Fewer Jews ‘Switch’ Faiths

posted by akornfeld

Jews are less likely than Catholics or Protestants to change faiths, though religious switching nationwide has increased since 1965, according to a study released this week by the American Jewish Committee. Most who leave Judaism become unaffiliated, rather than converting […]

Tibetans Mark Their New Year with Mourning Period

posted by akornfeld

Beijing – Trading fireworks for somber prayer, Tibetans marked Wednesday’s arrival of their new year with mourning as Chinese authorities sealed off Tibet and Tibetan regions in western China to foreigners. An unofficial Tibetan boycott of festivities was in memory […]

Supreme Court Rules Against Religious Monument

posted by akornfeld

Washington – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday (Feb. 25) that a city park in Utah does not have to include a monument of a small religious sect even though it already features a Ten Commandments monument. Summum, a Salt […]

China’s Tibetan Areas Not Celebrating the New Year

posted by akornfeld

Xiahe, China – Only a handful of pilgrims gathered here last weekend at the historic Labrang monastery, normally bustling before the Tibetan New Year. “There was a war in Lhasa this year. Lots of Tibetans were killed,” one resident murmured, […]

Report Urges Boost for US Family Planning Program

posted by akornfeld

New York – Publicly funded family planning prevents nearly 2 million unintended pregnancies and more than 800,000 abortions in the United States each year, saving billions of dollars, according to new research intended to counter conservative objections to expanding the […]

Supreme Court to Consider Case of Cross Monument in Mohave Desert

posted by akornfeld

The Supreme Court decided Monday (Feb. 23) to consider a case about a controversial eight-foot cross that was erected as a war memorial on federal property in California. The legal battle surrounding the memorial in the Mohave National Preserve in […]

New Assemblies of God General Secretary Appointed

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) A Missouri minister has been appointed the new general secretary of the Assemblies of God, replacing the previous officeholder who resigned after admitting to misconduct. Pastor James Bradford of Central Assembly of God in Springfield was appointed on Thursday […]

No Matzo Shortage Expected this Year, Manischewitz Says

posted by nsymmonds

NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) Manischewitz, America’s largest producer of processed kosher food, has resumed full Passover matzo production after its factory relocation contributed to a national shortage last year. During Passover, which falls between April 9 and April 15 this year, […]

In Pope’s Choice for New York, A Study in Contrasts

posted by nsymmonds

NEW YORK — The Rev. Steven Avella, a Roman Catholic priest in Milwaukee, said his counterparts in the Archdiocese of New York should soon expect a phone call from their new boss — Archbishop Timothy Dolan. “He’ll start phoning guys […]

Holy Cards Draw the Collectors’ Eye

posted by nsymmonds

ROME — Until a few decades ago, practically everybody attending a Catholic baptism, first Communion or funeral would walk out of the ceremony with a holy card in their pocket or purse. Typically the size of a slightly elongated playing […]

Chicago-Area Female Rabbi to Lead Reform Rabbinical Assembly

posted by nsymmonds

NEW YORK (AP) – Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, who leads a small congregation in suburban Chicago, will become the second woman to head the rabbinical assembly of Judaism’s liberal Reform movement. Dreyfus, 57, is to be installed as president of […]

Fairness Doctrine is Still Dead, But Groups Are Still Worried

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON — A move to require broadcasters to provide equal time to all sides of controversial issues has religious radio programs worried, even though no formal proposal has been introduced and the White House likely wouldn’t support it. At issue […]

Reports: Argentina to Expel Holocaust-Denying Bishop

posted by akornfeld

Argentina is expelling a Holocaust-denying bishop whose recent readmission to the Catholic Church prompted anger and outrage from Jewish groups, according to international reports. Bishop Richard Williamson, whose excommunication was lifted by the Vatican in January, will be forced to […]

Groups Try to Strip Atheist Provision from Ark. Constitution

posted by akornfeld

A religious liberty watchdog group has joined a campaign to strip the Arkansas Constitution of a provision that prohibits atheists from holding office and testifying in court. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty sent a letter Tuesday (Feb.17) to the […]

Lutherans Move to Allow Gay Clergy — Sort of

posted by akornfeld

A blue-ribbon panel recommended on Thursday (Feb. 19) that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lift its ban on partnered gay and lesbian clergy, but only after the church agrees in principle on gay relationships and respecting the consciences of […]

‘Fireproof’ Wins Top Movieguide Award

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) “Fireproof” and “The Christmas Choir” captured the two $100,000 Epiphany Prizes at the 17th annual Movieguide Faith and Values Awards Gala in Beverly Hills, Calif. “Fireproof” depicts the reconciliation of a troubled marriage while “The Christmas Choir” follows homeless […]

Slain Rabbi’s Father Hopes to Rebuild Jewish Center

posted by nsymmonds

CHENNAI, India (RNS) The father of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, the Chabad missionary who was murdered along with his wife in last November’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai plans to rebuild the Jewish center that was badly damaged in the assault. Rabbi […]

Pope Gives Pelosi a Stern Reprimand

posted by nsymmonds

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI lectured House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the “dignity of human life” at a private meeting here on Wednesday (Feb. 18), a decidedly less cordial reception than is frequently given many U.S. leaders. Pelosi, D-Calif., […]

Muslim TV Channel Founder Charged with Decapitating Wife

posted by nsymmonds

New York (dpa) – The founder of a Muslim television station in the United States has been charged with murder after allegedly decapitating his wife, the channel’s website and local media reported Tuesday. Muzzammil Hassan, 44, was arrested Thursday after […]

Science Group Boycotts New Orleans Over Teaching Rules

posted by nsymmonds

BATON ROUGE, La. (RNS) A national organization of scientists has informed Gov. Bobby Jindal that it will not hold its annual convention in Louisiana as long as the recently adopted science curriculum standards remain on the books. The Society for […]

New Christian Poverty Forum Aims to Keep Focus on the Poor

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of 18 Christian leaders has developed a host of policy recommendations on poverty reduction that they hope will shape the actions of the Obama administration and Congress. The effort, co-chaired by evangelical activist Jim Wallis […]

Gay Couples Protest at Marriage Bureaus Across US

posted by nsymmonds

Associated Press – February 12, 2009 SAN FRANCISCO – Same-sex couples seeking to wed showed up at marriage license counters nationwide Thursday to highlight a right they don’t have in 48 states, part of an annual protest that took on […]

Ministry Sues for Access to Inmates

posted by nsymmonds

OKLAHOMA CITY (RNS) The Oklahoma Department of Corrections’ refusal to allow a Christian ministry access to send Bibles, books about Jesus Christ and other religious materials to inmates has sparked a federal lawsuit. Wingspread Christian Ministries, headquartered in Prairie Grove, […]

Russia: No Orthodox, Catholic Meeting Yet

posted by nsymmonds

MOSCOW – A top Russian Orthodox official signaled that a meeting between Patriarch Kirill and Pope Benedict XVI is not likely to happen soon, a news agencies reported Friday. The comments from Bishop Ilarion, the Russian church’s envoy to European […]

Democrats Hint at Piecemeal Reversal of Bush Abortion Policies

posted by akornfeld

Washington – When Barack Obama was campaigning for president, he promised to enact legislation to prohibit states from limiting the right to abortion. Now that Obama is in the White House and solid Democratic majorities are ensconced in Congress, opponents […]

Congregations to Mark Evolution Weekend

posted by akornfeld

By KARIN HAMILTON More than 1,000 congregations are participating in the fourth annual Evolution Weekend, which is celebrating the integration of faith and science as the world marks the 200th birthday of the father of evolution, Charles Darwin. Many churches […]

Pope Condemns Holocaust Denial as ‘Unacceptable’

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – In his first meeting with Jewish leaders since his controversial readmission of a Holocaust-denying bishop, Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday (Feb. 12) condemned the “denial or minimization” of the Holocaust as “intolerable and altogether unacceptable.” Benedict also […]

Groups Ask Obama to Join Land Mine Treaties

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) Leaders from 67 religious and humanitarian organizations have asked President Obama to reconsider U.S. opposition to global treaties that prohibit the use and transfer of landmines and cluster munitions. “Reconsidering these two treaties — and eliminating the threat […]

Muslim Creationists Gain Ground

posted by nsymmonds

(UNDATED) Growing up in Pakistan, Salman Hameed navigated freely between his Muslim beliefs and his secular studies. Now, as an assistant professor of integrated science and humanities at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, he teaches about the scientific origins of the […]

Church of England Debates Allowing Women Bishops

posted by nsymmonds

LONDON – The Church of England’s governing body, seeking to bridge stubborn differences over allowing women to become bishops, was expected to vote Wednesday on a compromise that would let traditionalist parishes be overseen by men. Though bitterly torn over […]

Hymn Endures as Unofficial ‘Black National Anthem’

posted by akornfeld

When the Rev. Joseph Lowery rose to offer the closing prayer at President Obama’s swearing-in ceremony, he knew which hymn he would borrow to start his prayer. “God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has […]

Rare Trove of Hebrew Books Displayed in NYC

posted by akornfeld

New York – A rare trove of 11,000 Hebrew books and manuscripts went on display at Sotheby’s this week as the auction house seeks to find a buyer for what is considered the greatest collection of Judaica in private hands. […]

Presbyterians to Study Civil Unions

posted by akornfeld

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has tapped a 13-member committee to investigate the place same-sex unions should have in Christianity and wider society and issue a report in 2010. The Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, who is currently serving a two-year term as […]

Secularist Group Buying Billboards to Honor Darwin

posted by nsymmonds

GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado – A secularist group is observing the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin with billboards that urge people to “Evolve Beyond Belief.” The Freedom From Religion Foundation placed “Praise Darwin” billboards in Grand Junction; Dayton, Tennessee; Dover, Pennsylvania; […]

La. Prison Agrees to Strip Monument of Bible Reference

posted by nsymmonds

BATON ROUGE, La. (RNS) Officials at a Louisiana prison, already under fire for allegedly denying Catholic and Muslim inmates access to religious materials, have agreed to remove a biblical reference from a monument outside the prison gates. Cathy Fontenot, a […]

Holocaust-Denying Bishop Dismissed from Seminary

posted by nsymmonds

VATICAN CITY (RNS) In the latest consequence of more than two weeks of international outcry, a Holocaust-denying bishop who was recently readmitted to the Catholic Church has been dismissed as head of an Argentinean seminary. “Statements by Monsignor (Richard) Williamson […]

Venezuela’s Jews Fear More Attacks

posted by nsymmonds

CARACAS, Venezuela – As President Hugo Chavez intensifies his anti-Israel campaign, some Venezuelans have taken action, threatening Jews in the street and vandalizing the largest synagogue in Caracas – where they stole a database of names and addresses. Now many […]

Senate Rejects Stimulus Aid for Religious Buildings

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) The U.S. Senate defeated an amendment to the economic stimulus bill Thursday (Feb. 5) that would have allowed federal funding for renovations at college buildings that are used for religious activity. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., proposed the amendment […]

Vatican Fingers Are Pointing in Holocaust Controversy

posted by nsymmonds

VATICAN CITY — After two weeks of international outcry over the pope’s decision to readmit a Holocaust-denying bishop, the Vatican’s top leaders are engaged in an extraordinarily severe — and rare — round of public criticism. Jewish groups were outraged […]

Pope’s Call for Bishop to Retract Holocaust Claim Welcomed

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City/Berlin/Jerusalem – The Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem welcomed Thursday the pope’s decision to demand that Bishop Richard Williamson publicly and unambiguously recant his stance regarding the Holocaust. Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said the pope’s decision sends […]

Anglican Leaders Take Dim View of Rival U.S. Church

posted by akornfeld

Leaders of the Anglican Communion said Thursday (Feb. 5) that they, not dissident conservatives, will decide what role a newly formed traditionalist North American church will have in their worldwide fellowship. Concluding their weeklong meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, the Anglican […]

Muslim Charity to Get Access to Records

posted by nsymmonds

Feb. 4–Nearly three years after U.S. agents first seized hundreds of documents from a Toledo-based Muslim charity and froze its financial assets, a federal judge issued an order that ultimately allows the organization to defend itself. U.S. District Court Judge […]

Fire Burns Through Roof of Iconic Chicago Church

posted by nsymmonds

CHICAGO – A fire burned for more than two hours Wednesday at Holy Name Cathedral, severely damaging the attic and leaving gaping holes in the roof of the 134-year-old landmark and seat of Cardinal Francis George. Firefighters battled the blaze […]

Vatican Says Bishop Must Recant Holocaust Statements

posted by nsymmonds

VATICAN CITY — Responding to two weeks of international outcry, the Vatican on Wednesday (Feb. 4) demanded that a traditionalist bishop recant his statements denying the genocide of Jews during in the Holocaust. The statement from the office of Cardinal […]

Successor Named to Marble Collegiate Pulpit

posted by akornfeld

New York’s venerable Marble Collegiate Church, founded nearly 400 years ago and made famous by its longtime leader, the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, named a new senior minister on Sunday (Feb 1). The Rev. Michael Brown, a United Methodist pastor […]

Habitat for Humanity Founder Millard Fuller Dies at 74

posted by akornfeld

Washington — Millard Fuller, the man who founded Habitat for Humanity and whose name was synonymous with volunteer faith-based efforts to build houses for the poor, died suddenly Tuesday (Feb. 3) after a brief illness. Fuller, 74, had suffered from […]

U.S. Bishops Blast Holocaust-Denying Bishop

posted by akornfeld

Washington – The nation’s top Catholic archbishop on Tuesday (Feb. 2) condemned the remarks of a Holocaust-denying English bishop as “deeply offensive and utterly false,” and sought to reaffirm the church’s bonds with the Jewish community. “No Catholic, whether layperson, […]

Dalai Lama Hospitalized with Pinched Nerve

posted by nsymmonds

NEW DELHI – The Dalai Lama was taken to a hospital in India’s capital for medical tests Monday after experiencing minor pain in his arms that was later diagnosed as a pinched nerve, his spokesman said. The 73-year-old exiled Tibetan […]

Judge Orders Witness to Remove Face Veil

posted by nsymmonds

TORONTO (RNS) In a case that pits religious freedom against the right of a defendant to face an accuser in court, a judge here has ordered a Toronto woman to testify without her face-covering niqab at a sexual assault trial. […]

Carter Urges Baptists to Break Down Racial Barriers

posted by nsymmonds

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) Former President Jimmy Carter stepped into the pulpit of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on Saturday (Jan. 31) and spoke to a standing-room-only crowd of about 1,200 people who filled the balcony and lined the walls. “There is […]

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

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

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

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

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

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