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July 2009 Archives

Pope Benedict to Cut Album of Songs and Prayers

posted by aroan

(RNS) Pope Benedict XVI has signed with a major record label to cut an album of songs and prayers to the Virgin Mary. Geffen Records, whose artists include Ashlee Simpson and Snoop Dogg, will release “Alma Mater,” featuring the pope’s […]

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Rev. Ike, Early Proponent of Prosperity Gospel, Dies at Age 74

posted by aroan

(RNS) The Rev. Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II, an early proponent of the prosperity gospel best known as “Rev. Ike,” died Tuesday (July 28). He was 74. Rev. Ike was among the first in the 1970s to harness the power of […]

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Obama Awards Medal of Freedom to Religious Leaders

posted by aroan

(RNS) Retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and the Rev. Joseph Lowery, a longtime U.S. civil rights activist, have been named recipients of the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom. “Each has been an agent of change,” President Obama […]

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Progressive Protestant Power Shift Not Without Challenges

posted by nsymmonds

NEW YORK — When the Rev. Brad Braxton was tapped last year as the next senior pastor of Riverside Church, he was billed as an energetic and dynamic preacher with the power to reinvigorate the flagship pulpit of progressive Protestantism. […]

Father In Faith-Healing Death Tries to Block Sentencing

posted by nsymmonds

OREGON CITY, Ore. (RNS) Defense attorneys for a father who was convicted of second-degree criminal mistreatment in the faith-healing death of his 15-month-old daughter are trying to block his sentencing, arguing that the court set too low a standard for […]

Hindus Celebrate Cultural Center

posted by nsymmonds

Jul. 30–SOUTH JORDAN — The Sri Ganesha Hindu Temple hosts dozens of festivals each year in honor of different deities — the multiple forms of a single God. During those festivals, the temple’s priest Satish Kumar said “first we do […]

Faith Healing Cases Present Legal Challenges

posted by nsymmonds

An Oregon jury acquitted two Oregon parents, Carl and Raylene Worthington, on July 23 in the death of their 15-month-old daughter, Ava, who succumbed to pneumonia as the couple relied on prayer instead of seeking conventional medical help. Shawn Francis […]

Pope: ‘Guardian Angel’ Did Not Stop Accident

posted by nsymmonds

LES COMBES, Italy – Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday that his guardian angel was clearly acting “on superior orders” when he let the pontiff fall and break his wrist this month. The 82-year-old pope said in a lighthearted tone that: […]

Faith-Based Mutual Insurers Worry About Health Care Reform

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON — As Congress debates whether to mandate health insurance for all Americans, several Christian ministries whose members share each other’s medical costs are hoping the final version of health care reform doesn’t put them out of business. Officials of […]

Episcopalians Reject Bishop Who Embraced Zen Buddhism

posted by nsymmonds

An Episcopal priest who has practiced Zen meditation and espoused unconventional ideas about Christianity has lost his bid to become a bishop in Michigan, the church announced Monday (July 27). The Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester, who was elected in February […]

Georgia to Allow Headscarves in Courtrooms

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) Georgia court officials unanimously voted on Monday (July 27) to allow individuals to wear religious head coverings in state courtrooms. The Georgia Judicial Council adopted the policy after a Muslim woman was arrested last year for refusing to remove […]

Wis. Mom of Dead Girl: Sickness Was Test of Faith

posted by nsymmonds

WAUSAU, Wis. – The mother of an 11-year-old central Wisconsin girl who died of undiagnosed diabetes as the family prayed for her to get better testified Tuesday that she believes sickness is caused by sin and can be cured by […]

Tutu Jokes Dalai Lama ‘Quite Mischievous’

posted by nsymmonds

PRETORIA, South Africa, Jul 27, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) — The Dalai Lama is not simply not bitter after 50 years in exile from China — “he’s actually quite mischievous,” South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu joked. The Dalai Lama “really […]

Poll: Mormons Most Likely to Be Offended by Hollywood

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) Mormons are the faith group most likely to say Hollywood threatens their values, followed by Jehovah’s Witnesses and evangelicals, according to a new study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The survey showed more than […]

Williams Suggests Secondary Role for Rebel Episcopal Church

posted by nsymmonds

(UNDATED) Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams suggested Monday (July 27) that the Episcopal Church may have to accept a secondary role in the Anglican Communion after voting to allow gay bishops and blessings for same-sex unions. Williams, the spiritual leader […]

Convicted Pastor Says He’s ‘One of the Prophets’

posted by aroan

TEXARKANA, Ark. – Tony Alamo, a one-time street preacher who built a multimillion-dollar ministry and became an outfitter of the stars, was convicted Friday of taking girls as young as 9 across state lines for sex. Alamo stood silently as […]

N.J. Corruption Probe Shines Unwelcome Spotlight on Syrian Jews

posted by aroan

DEAL, N.J. — This wealthy seaside town might not have a Syrian Jewish community at all if it hadn’t developed as a summer escape for Brooklyn’s Syrian Jews, more than 10,000 of whom visit each summer. Indeed, in the Syrian […]

Report: U.S. Funded Religious Programs in Africa, Iraq

posted by aroan

WASHINGTON (RNS) The federal government used taxpayer dollars to rebuild mosques in Iraq and teach Bible-based abstinence in Africa, violating a prohibition on funding “inherently religious activities,” according to a recent audit of the U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID). […]

Ore. Parents Acquitted in Daughter’s Faith-Healing Death

posted by aroan

OREGON CITY, Ore. — Jurors on Thursday (July 23) acquitted two parents accused in the faith-healing death of their infant daughter on all but one count, a stunning legal victory in a case that pitted religious freedom against parental responsibility. […]

NIH, Surgeon General Nominees Live Private Faith Behind Public Careers

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON — When President Obama named his choices for his administration’s two top medical posts, he chose people of private faith and public acclaim whose positions may put them out of lock step with fellow believers. Dr. Francis Collins, 59, […]

Religious Group Paid for Ensign Trips

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON, Jul 23, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) — A secretive religious group paid for trips to Japan and the Middle East by U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., now under fire for an adulterous affair, records show. The travel in 2003 […]

New Service Lets Jews Tweet a Prayer to God

posted by nsymmonds

JERUSALEM – For centuries, people have stuffed prayers written on scraps of paper into the ancient cracks in the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. In recent years they could fax or e-mail their prayers – and now […]

Bishop Says Turkey Ready to Permit Permanent Church in St. Paul’s Birthplace

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS/ENI) Turkey’s government has agreed to extend indefinite permission for Christian worship at an historic church in Tarsus, the birthplace of St. Paul, says the head of the country’s Roman Catholic bishops’ conference. “I’m confident the church in Tarsus could […]

Islamic Group Paid for Lawmaker’s Pilgrimage to Mecca

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON – Days after his return from an unannounced pilgrimage to the Islamic holy site of Mecca, Rep. Keith Ellison talked about it as a transformational personal experience, saying “I didn’t want to turn it into a politics thing.” Nearly […]

Senate Holds Confirmation Hearings on Vatican Ambassador

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s nominee for ambassador to the Vatican, Miguel Diaz, told senators Wednesday (July 22) that his socially conscious scholarship gives him common ground with fellow theologian Pope Benedict XVI, which could further U.S. policies and interests in […]

Birth Control Puts Catholics in Tight Spot on Abortion

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON — While the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has taken a cool response to many of President Obama’s policies, the one area where the two sides seem to be finding fragile common ground is on the need to reduce […]

Israelis Praise Episcopal Bishops for Rejecting Middle East Statement

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) Israeli officials praised Episcopal bishops on Monday (July 20) for rejecting a resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that they deemed too pro-Palestinian. The rejected resolution called for a Palestinian state and an end to the “ongoing confiscation of […]

Is Doomsday Upon Us (Again) In 2012?

posted by nsymmonds

(UNDATED) It’s that time of the century again. Time to sell your real estate, rid yourself of cherished possessions and purge the evil tendencies of your wicked soul. The world is scheduled to end in late 2012 — at least […]

Mormon Leaders Give Obama Genealogical History

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) President Obama met with Mormon leaders Monday (July 20) and received genealogical information about his family. The president met with President Thomas Monson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Elder Dallin Oaks, who oversees […]

Atheists Choose ‘De-Baptism’ to Renounce Childhood Faith

posted by nsymmonds

Up until last summer, Jennifer Gray of Columbus, Ohio, considered herself “a weak Christian” whose baptism at age 11 in a Kentucky church came to mean less and less to her as she gradually lost faith in God. Then the […]

Chicago Group Helped Pave Way for Episcopal Church’s Landmark Decisions

posted by nsymmonds

Jul. 20–The successful push to open all doors to ordained ministry for openly gay and lesbian Episcopalians last week started with a nudge from Chicago. Seeking to lift a de facto moratorium on gay bishops and end the deadlock about […]

NY Court Rules on Muslim Scholar Barred from US

posted by nsymmonds

NEW YORK – A federal court in New York says U.S. officials were obligated to give a Muslim scholar a chance to show he was no supporter of terrorism before barring him from the country. Professor Tariq Ramadan had his […]

Conn. Diocese Seeks Appeal to US Supreme Court

posted by nsymmonds

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A Roman Catholic diocese in Connecticut sought Friday to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep under wraps sex abuse documents that could shed light on how a prominent retired cardinal handled the allegations. Bridgeport […]

Churches Commemorate the Anniversary of Communion in Space

posted by nsymmonds

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Astronaut Buzz Aldrin was the first human to witness how liquid behaves in the weak gravitational field of the moon — but this was no science experiment. This was a believer giving thanks to God for an […]

How to Fight Sharia Law? Use Sharia, Muslim Lawyer Says

posted by nsymmonds

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — To many Americans, Sharia, or Islamic law, conjures up images of a vengeful legal system that punishes thievery with amputation and promises death by stoning for alleged adultery. But as an attorney for those unfortunate enough to […]

Minister Wins Right to Threaten Judge with Biblical Curses

posted by nsymmonds

A Michigan appeals court on Tuesday (July 14) overturned a ruling that had sent a minister to jail for threatening a judge with curses from the Bible. The appeals court unanimously decided the Rev. Edward Pinkney’s rights to free speech […]

Episcopalians Ask Who Should Lead: Church or Culture?

posted by nsymmonds

ANAHEIM, Calif. — As the Episcopal Church lifted a de facto ban on gay and lesbian bishops and appears headed toward adapting rites for same-sex unions, one question has repeatedly surfaced in the debates: Does the church takes its cues […]

Witness: Evangelist Had Total Control at Compound

posted by nsymmonds

TEXARKANA, Ark. – A woman whose parents and grandparents followed evangelist Tony Alamo testified at his sex-crime trial Wednesday that “Papa Tony” segregated children by gender to prevent “hanky-panky” and controlled everything at his religious compound. The woman, now 30, […]

Atheists Sue to Stop ‘In God We Trust’ in Capitol Visitor’s Center

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) The nation’s largest group of atheists and agnostics filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday (July 14) to stop the engraving of “In God We Trust” and the “one nation under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance in the new […]

Despite Pro-Gay Moves, Episcopalians Remain Divided

posted by nsymmonds

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Russell Randle and J.P. Causey are both lawyers, both Virginians, and both longtime Episcopalians. They have visited each other’s homes, served on church committees together, and when Randle wrote a book on environmental law, he sent a […]

Episcopal Church Takes Definitive Steps in Favor of Gay Rights

posted by aroan

(RNS) ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Episcopal Church on Tuesday (July 14) overwhelmingly voted to lift a three-year-old moratorium on consecrating gay and lesbian bishops, despite warnings that the ban was necessary to preserve unity in the wider Anglican Communion. A […]

Sotomayor Has Mixed Record on Church-State Disputes

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON — As a federal judge, Sonia Sotomayor sided with Santeria prisoners who wanted to wear religious beads and Muslim inmates who wanted to break the fast during the holy month of Ramadan. At the same time, she ruled against […]

Jewish Demographer Gary Tobin Dies at 59

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) Gary Tobin, a sometimes controversial researcher who studied Jewish demographics and the growth of contemporary Judaism, died of cancer in a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on July 6. He was 59. The self-described “radical thinker” made it his […]

Abortion Case Plaintiff Arrested at Senate Hearing

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON – The plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, who became an anti-abortion protester in recent years, was among four protesters arrested Monday for disrupting Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing. Better known as “Jane Roe,” 61-year-old Norma McCorvey of Texas […]

Lay Catholic Group Fears Demise Amid Budget Woes

posted by nsymmonds

BOSTON – A lay Catholic group founded in the worst days of the church’s clergy sex abuse scandal said Monday it may be forced to cease operations because of a downturn in donations. Leaders of Voice of the Faithful sent […]

Security Group Forms Church Violence Task Force

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) The world’s largest security training organization has opened a new church-security division and will instruct churches on how to prevent and respond to violent crimes at its annual conference in September. ASIS International’s new church-security division will lead a […]

Pope Meets Obama with Abortion as Topic No. 1

posted by nsymmonds

VATICAN CITY — President Obama met Pope Benedict XVI for the first time on Friday (July 10) in a closed-door meeting that a Vatican statement said covered multiple topics but focused on the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion. The pope […]

Muslim Women Lead Protests in Restive West China

posted by nsymmonds

URUMQI, China – The petite Muslim woman with the sky blue head scarf began by complaining that the public washrooms were closed at a crowded mosque on Friday – the most important day of the week for Islamic worship. When […]

States Moving Faster than Churches on Gay Marriage

posted by nsymmonds

BOSTON — The historic Church of the Covenant just off the city’s Public Garden has been an important place for Anne Crane and Sarah Perreault. The lesbian couple had their first date there in the late 1970s, and by the […]

House Orders Engraving of ‘In God We Trust’ Motto

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON – The national motto, “In God We Trust,” will be engraved in the Capitol Visitor Center, responding to critics who said Congress spent $621 million on the new facility without paying due respect to the nation’s religious heritage. The […]

Panel Backs Aid to Groups that Perform Abortions

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON – Democrats on a key Senate panel Thursday voted to permanently reverse a policy in effect under recent Republican administrations that banned giving U.S. money to international groups that perform abortions or provide abortion information. The 17-11 vote by […]

Evangelical Francis Collins Named to Head NIH

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) Francis Collins, the researcher who mapped the human genome and navigated clashes between his Christian faith and science, has been chosen to lead the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Calling Collins “one of the top scientists in the […]

Pastor Gets Used by ‘Bruno,’ and ‘Bruno’ Gets Used by Pastor

posted by nsymmonds

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A lot of youth pastors might love the chance to share their faith with a movie star for two hours and then be featured in the star’s next motion picture, testifying about Jesus. Jody Trautwein, youth pastor […]

Democrats, Progressives Find Unlikely Ally in Benedict XVI

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON — The ink had barely dried on the pope’s newest encyclical when the group Catholics for Working Families used the document to push for the pro-union Employee Free Choice Act. Has Pope Benedict XVI suddenly become a liberal? Worker’s […]

On All Things Religious, Obama Turns to DuBois

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON — From a sparsely adorned office building a stone’s throw from the White House, Joshua DuBois carefully navigates the delicate line between church and state. Each morning, he sends a devotional message to President Obama’s BlackBerry. He appears before […]

Economy Closes One Relief Group, Forces Cuts at World Vision

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) A Michigan-based Christian relief group, International Aid, has closed its doors amid financial struggles while World Vision, one of the largest evangelical relief agencies, has eliminated about 75 positions. International Aid needed to collect about $1.5 million in the […]

Conservatives Blast Obama on Stem Cell Guidelines

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) Christian conservative groups decried new federal guidelines that will increase taxpayer dollars going to embryonic stem cell research. The guidelines, which took effect Tuesday (July 7) after they were issued by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), stipulate […]

Pope Proposes New Financial Order Guided by Ethics

posted by nsymmonds

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI called Tuesday for a new world financial order guided by ethics and the search for the common good, denouncing the profit-at-all-cost mentality blamed for bringing about the global financial meltdown. In the third encyclical […]

Obama Says He May Attend ‘A Number’ of Washington Churches

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) President Obama said he may attend “a number of different churches” in Washington rather than just one and is receiving a daily devotional message from a key staffer. “How we handle church when we’re here in D.C. is […]

Vatican City State Reports $22 Million Deficit

posted by nsymmonds

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican City State reported a deficit of $22 million for 2008 as a consequence of the “global economic-financial crisis,” the Vatican announced on Saturday (July 4). The Vatican’s annual profit and loss statements showed that the […]

Evangelical Pastor Warren Asks Muslims for Interfaith Action

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) California megachurch pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren spent his Independence Day here in the nation’s capital addressing the largest Muslim organization in North America. While publicity ignited before the speech, the actual event had some competing fanfare. […]

New Patriot’s Bible: God Bless America Indeed

posted by akornfeld

Americans looking to combine love of God with love of country this July 4th can quote the new “American Patriot’s Bible,” which says God has influenced America though godly Founding Fathers, presidents and soldiers. “This Bible is designed for the […]

Parents in Faith-Healing Case Never Considered Calling a Doctor

posted by akornfeld

Oregon City, Oregon – Carl and Raylene Worthington told detectives that they never considered calling a doctor, even as their 15-month-old daughter deteriorated and died. “I don’t believe in them,” Carl Worthington said of doctors. “I believe in faith healing.” […]

Church-State Divide Looms for Episcopalians on Gay Marriage

posted by akornfeld

Episcopal bishops from the six states that have legalized same-sex marriage are requesting permission to adapt their church’s venerable prayer book for use at same-sex weddings. The proposal presents a new challenge to the Episcopal Church as it seeks to […]

Unitarians, UCC Elect Minorities as Presidents

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the United Church of Christ (UCC) both made history this week by selecting minority presidents at their annual meetings. The Boston-based UUA elected its first Latino president, the Rev. Peter Morales; the Cleveland-based […]

Pastor Rick Warren to Address American Muslims

posted by nsymmonds

NEW YORK – Sayyid Syeed remembers an interfaith event several years ago when a Jewish leader went to embrace him, saw someone snapping a photo, then suddenly pulled back. “He said to the man, `Stop,’” Syeed recalled, “`I’ll lose my […]

Conservatives Launch New ‘Freedom Federation’

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) A new federation of two dozen conservative Christian groups announced plans Tuesday (June 30) to work together to strategize around moral values they feel are under attack across the country. “We are not wed to a particular partisan […]

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posted 9:08:12am Apr. 10, 2015 | read full post »

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

Billy Graham: I know where I'm going
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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 »

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 ...

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

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