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September 2009 Archives

Survey Detects Jewish Concern on Obama’s Israel Policy

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) A slight majority of American Jews approve of the Obama administration’s Israel policy, but an almost equal number oppose his call for an end to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, according to a new poll. The 2009 […]

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Vatican Asks U.S. Bishops to Help Fund Nuns Probe

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican has asked U.S. Catholic bishops to fund a $1.1 million investigation of American nuns ordered by church authorities in Rome. “We have a projected budget of $1,100,000 for the three years which the total work […]

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On Eve of March, Faith Drives Activism for Gay Rights Supporters

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) As thousands of gays and lesbians prepare to march on the nation’s capital to push for equal rights, leaders from a range of faiths say it’s time to stop using religion as a weapon to oppose same-sex marriage. […]

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Celebrating the Work of Ecumenism, Done and Undone

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Catholic, Lutheran and United Methodist leaders will gather in Chicago on Thursday (Oct. 1) to commemorate the 10th anniversary of a milestone agreement on the long, slow and often painful road to Christian unity. The celebration, held at Old […]

Supreme Court to Consider Fate of Mojave Cross

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Does an offended observer who drives by a cross-shaped war memorial in the middle of the desert have a right to call for its removal? And can that 7-foot cross stand without violating the constitution’s prohibition of government establishment […]

Did Madoff Atone on Yom Kippur?

posted by mconsoli

NEW YORK, Sep 29, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) — Bernard Madoff, architect of the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history, had the opportunity to ask for forgiveness on Yom Kippur. Officials at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons would not comment […]

Religious Life Won’t Be the Same After Downturn

posted by nsymmonds

NEW YORK – Organized religion was already in trouble before the fall of 2008. Denominations were stagnating or shrinking, and congregations across faith groups were fretting about their finances. The Great Recession made things worse. It’s further drained the financial […]

Pope Urges Czechs to Reclaim Christian Heritage

posted by nsymmonds

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Visiting the Czech Republic 20 years after a Velvet Revolution overthrew the nation’s communist regime, Pope Benedict XVI called on one of the world’s most secular societies to reclaim its Christian heritage as the basis for “true […]

Coen Brothers Find Unorthodox Stories of Redemption in Films

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) In the beginning was the Dude. And the Dude was with God, and the Dude himself was kind of godly, if you’re into that sort of thing. In his right hand the Dude carried a cocktail, and in his […]

Is There Jewish Forgiveness for Bernard Madoff?

posted by mconsoli

(UNDATED) Rabbi Peter Berg plans on reminding his congregants this month that the first question God asks when they reach heaven’s gates is whether they have dealt honestly in business. “The rabbis of the Talmud have always believed there is […]

Court Dismisses $5 million Judgment Against Anti-Gay Protestors

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Members of Westboro Baptist Church, the anti-gay church that protests military funerals, won a court victory Thursday (Sept. 24) when a federal appeals court overturned a $5 million judgment against them. The father of a Marine who was killed […]

Muslims Pray for ‘Soul of America’ at Capitol

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON — Swapping prayer rugs for massive plastic rain tarps, an estimated 3,500 Muslims gathered at the foot of the U.S. Capitol on Friday (Sept. 25) to pray for “the soul of America” in a grassroots demonstration of religious and […]

Muslim March Organizers Find an Unlikely Ally

posted by mconsoli

ELIZABETH, N.J. — Plans to attract thousands of Muslims to Capitol Hill on Friday (Sept. 25) for prayer have drawn anxiety, praise, enthusiasm and criticism, but they’ve also made unlikely allies of the New Jersey mosque where the idea was […]

Religious Groups Rally Around Pittsburgh

posted by mconsoli

Sep. 24–Religious groups gathered in the North Side and Strip District this morning to protest human rights violations in Asia as the group of 20 economic summit prepared to begin. More than 100 people gathered in the Strip District this […]

Need a High Holy Day Ticket? Have You Tried Craigslist?

posted by mconsoli

(UNDATED) Alex Marmur wanted to go to synagogue on Yom Kippur, but didn’t want to pay temple membership dues to get tickets. So he turned to Craigslist. “I use it for buying and selling all types of concert tickets,” said […]

Archbishop Says No Funerals for Pro-Abortion Politicians

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The American archbishop who heads the Vatican’s supreme court said Catholic politicians who support abortion rights should not receive the sacraments, including funeral rites, according to a report by a conservative Catholic Web site. Archbishop Raymond Burke, who led […]

Dalai Lama Joins Vancouver Sun as Guest Editor

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The Dalai Lama will join the staff of the Vancouver Sun as guest editor when he is in town for the 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit. Saturday’s (Sept. 26) edition of the Vancouver Sun will follow the theme “Educating the […]

Christian Leaders Urge Sanctions Against Iran

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) High-profile evangelical leaders and religious liberty groups called for get-tough sanctions against Iran on the eve of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday (Sept. 23). The group, Christian Leaders for a […]

Like the Talmud, the Boxing Ring Calls to Foreman

posted by mconsoli

Its less than two months until Yuri Foreman brings his personal dream to this town where dreamers rarely beat The House. On Nov. 14, Foreman, 29, will become the first Israeli fighter to compete for the World Boxing Association’s junior […]

Two Longtime Southern Baptist Executives to Retire

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Two longtime executives of the Southern Baptist Convention have announced plans to retire in 2010, with each warning that new evangelism approaches will be needed in the denomination’s future. Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board, announced to […]

S.C. Supreme Court Rules for Breakaway Episcopal Parish

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) A South Carolina parish that split from the Episcopal Church in 2004 can keep its church property, the state’s Supreme Court has ruled, handing a rare legal victory to conservative dissidents. A majority of members of All Saints Church […]

Jewish Groups Protest Iowa’s Saturday Caucus Scheduling

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Moving Iowa’s mid-term caucuses to a Saturday disenfranchises Jewish voters who can’t participate in such events during their Sabbath, according to a letter signed by 18 national Jewish organizations on Friday (Sept. 18). The complaint about the Jan. 23, […]

Hindu Temple Must Allow Creditors Onto Property

posted by mconsoli

A federal bankruptcy judge on Thursday ruled that the Hindu Temple of Georgia must allow creditors onto its property to inventory its assets and must not spend its income. Attorneys for the temple, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this […]

For ‘Values Voters,’ Health Care Reform Holds Little Value

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON — Health care reform may be Priority No. 1 in Congress and at the White House, but for the 1,825 religious conservatives who gathered here for the annual Values Voter Summit over the weekend, the subject was barely on […]

Rabbis Urged to Focus on Ethics for High Holy Days

posted by nsymmonds

(UNDATED) In an unusual move, a group of influential Orthodox Jewish leaders has written a letter urging American rabbis to speak during this year’s High Holidays on the importance of ethical living, in response to some recent high-profile arrests of […]

Update: Fla. School Officials Acquitted on Prayer Charges

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) A Florida judge acquitted two Florida school officials Thursday (Sept. 17) of charges they broke the terms of an order that was meant to prevent faculty-led prayer at public school events. Principal Frank Lay and athletic director Robert Freeman […]

Christian Conservatives Decry Health Care Plan, Cheer GOP

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) More than 1,800 religious conservatives cheered Republican politicians, criticized President Obama’s health care plan, and rallied enthusiasm for the 2010 mid-term elections at the annual Values Voters Summit on Friday (Sept. 18). “When the president said — (with) […]

Faith Groups Advocate for Poor Ahead of G-20 Summit

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) Faith-based organizations are warning finance ministers from the world’s 20 richest economies they will not meet the majority of their own goals to help the world’s poorest nations. The Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of 75 faith-based and […]

Lutheran Dissidents Mull a Separate Future

posted by mconsoli

(UNDATED) The dilemma for conservatives in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America could be summed up in the familiar refrain from The Clash’s punk-rock tune: “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” The answer seems to be: Yes — and […]

Kosher Cookbook iPhone Application Debuts for Jewish Holidays

posted by mconsoli

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News – September 17, 2009 Sep. 17–iPhone application developer APPSolute Media and gourmet and food writer Gloria Kobrin announced today the launch of the Kosher Cookbook application which provides kosher recipes, which can be sorted by course, […]

During Ramadan, 30 Mosques in 30 Days

posted by mconsoli

NEW YORK — How many spiritual pilgrimages also include food reviews? During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, New Yorkers Aman Ali, 24, and Bassam Tariq, 22, are breaking the 12-hour daily fasts at iftar dinners and prayer services at […]

Operation Rescue Says Finances Have Stabilized

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) News reports of the possible demise of Operation Rescue are premature, the leader of the anti-abortion organization said Wednesday (Sept. 16). Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, said responses to a fundraising appeal he sent to supporters two weeks […]

China Opposes US Officials Meeting Dalai Lama

posted by mconsoli

BEIJING – China criticized a meeting between aides of President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama, saying Tuesday it opposed any such engagements with the Tibetan spiritual leader, but stopping short of threatening a response. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu […]

British Catholics Urge Prayer Before Sex

posted by mconsoli

LONDON (RNS) A Catholic charity in Britain says it believes couples should pray together before engaging in sex — and to help them along, it has composed a special prayer for the occasion. The entreaty, entitled “Prayer Before Making Love,” […]

Survey: Number of Female Senior Pastors Doubles in 10 Years

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) One in 10 U.S. churches employs a woman as senior pastor, double the percentage from a decade ago, according to a new survey by the Barna Group. Most of the women — 58 percent — work in mainline Protestant […]

Judge: Christian Homeless Shelter Exempt from Discrimination Laws

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Anti-discrimination statutes do not apply to an Idaho homeless shelter run by Christians because it is not a “dwelling,” a federal district judge has ruled. Moreover, the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects the Boise Rescue Mission Ministries’ right […]

Einstein, Spielberg Picked for American Jewish ‘Hall of Fame’

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Call it the Jewish version of American Idol: after more than 209,000 votes from around the world, 18 men and women have been chosen for the new National Museum of American Jewish History’s Hall of Fame. The museum, slated […]

Atlanta Reporter Wins Top Religion-Writing Honors

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) A former writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution won the top two prizes of the Religion Newswriters Association Saturday (Sept. 12) for her chronicles of the life of a military chaplain. Moni Basu wrote a series of stories entitled “Chaplain […]

Lyons Loses Bid to Lead National Baptists

posted by mconsoli

(UNDATED) An Alabama pastor was elected president of the National Baptist Convention, USA on Thursday (Sept. 10), overwhelmingly defeating the Rev. Henry J. Lyons, the denomination’s former leader who was sent to prison for fraud. The Rev. Julius R. Scruggs, […]

NYPD ‘Clarifies’ Report on Radical Islam

posted by mconsoli

The New York City Police Department has issued a “clarification” to a 2007 report about Islamic radicalism that critics said cast broad swaths of the Muslim population as potential terrorists. Muslim-American advocacy groups welcomed the two-page clarification, but worried the […]

Adviser Has Low Expectations for White House Faith-Based Office

posted by mconsoli

MINNEAPOLIS (RNS) Former Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page said he doesn’t expect much to result from the work of advisers to the White House’s office dealing with faith-based and community groups. “I believe that the policy recommendations that will […]

Study: 3 Percent of Women Victims of Clergy Sexual Advances

posted by mconsoli

More than 3 percent of adult women who attend religious services at least once a month have been victims of clergy sexual misconduct, according to researchers at Baylor University. Put another way: in a congregation of 400 people, seven adult […]

Jews Go Green for Planet’s ‘Birthday’ on Rosh Hashanah

posted by mconsoli

From the Garden of Eden to modern community-supported organic gardens, Jews are returning to their biblical call “to till and to tend” the earth. Spurred by the popularity of environmental movements across denominations and the demands of the economic recession, […]

Batman v/s Lord Shiva?

posted by mconsoli

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News – September 8, 2009 Sep. 8–MUMBAI — It was about a year ago that Mumbai-based Karan Vir Arora got the idea of opening an Indian comics company on the lines of international pop culture giants like […]

Convicted Ex-Priest Challenges Repressed Memories

posted by mconsoli

BOSTON – Defrocked priest Paul Shanley, one of the central figures in the clergy sex abuse scandal, was convicted after a 27-year-old man tearfully described how the popular priest used to pull him out of catechism classes and rape him, […]

Poll Finds More Positive Views of U.S. Muslims

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON — As the nation marks the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, almost six in 10 Americans believe Muslims are the subject of discrimination — more than other major religious groups — a new survey shows. According to […]

Jewish Universities Get $11.5 Million to Train Teachers

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Aspiring teachers at the flagship universities of all three major Jewish movements are getting a boost from the Jim Joseph Foundation, through an $11.5 million grant to help train educators for the next generation of young Jews. The foundation’s […]

Jewish Volunteers Work Hard in the Big Easy

posted by mconsoli

NEW ORLEANS — From the little office behind Little Zion Baptist Church, David Eber, 24, works on recovery among residents of the Lower 9th Ward, distributing “green” building materials, writing grant applications and listening to Katrina stories. Rebecca Waxman, 23, […]

Conservative Catholic Movement Preaches Caution on Founder

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) American leaders of a conservative Catholic movement have apologized for their founder’s sexual misbehavior and ordered followers to cease honoring his memory with portraits or “inappropriate” references in official literature. Regional leaders of Regnum Christi, the lay movement affiliated […]

Senator Probes Forgery Charges Against Book of Mormon

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON– When it’s time to relax, some senators play golf. Others pour themselves a drink. But Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, isn’t inclined toward the greens and his faith preaches against alcohol. Instead, he’s spent time on and off for the […]

Episcopal Nuns Leave to Join Catholic Church

posted by mconsoli

BALTIMORE (RNS) Ten Maryland nuns — almost an entire religious community — converted from the Episcopal Church to Catholicism on Thursday (Sept. 3), saying their former denomination had become too liberal in its acceptance of homosexuality. The ten members of […]

Black Woman Files Suit Against Billy Graham Evangelistic Assoc.

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has denied the claims of a black former employee who filed suit, alleging she was fired after expressing concern that the ministry was not sufficiently reaching out to African-American churches. The racial discrimination lawsuit […]

A Year After W.D. Mohammed’s Death, No One to Take His Place

posted by mconsoli

BOSTON — Like he has most of the last 25 Labor Day weekends, Imam Taalib Mahdee will spend this one in Chicago at an annual convention organized by the Ministry of Warith Deen Mohammed. The big difference this year? Mohammed, […]

New Dan Brown Novel Means Extra Scrutiny for Masons

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON — As members of a secretive brotherhood, Freemasons are no strangers to conspiracy theories. They’ve heard it all before: that they’re child-sacrificing cult members, or religious zealots plotting aNew World Order with the Jews, or satanic anti-religious alien spies. […]

German Priest Allowed to Continue Condoms Work in Africa

posted by nsymmonds

TRIER, Germany (RNS/ENI) A German priest who distributes condoms to help stem the spread of HIV/AIDS can continue working at his South African clinic but must give up the pulpit at a local Catholic church under a new deal with […]

Report Says Meatpacking Plants Wrong to Fire Muslims

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) A meatpacking company was wrong to fire more than 200 Muslim employees who walked off the job to protest insufficient breaks during Ramadan last year, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Workers at the JBS Swift & […]

Three States Still Ban Religious Clothing for Teachers

posted by mconsoli

PORTLAND, Ore. – A law backed by the Ku Klux Klan nearly a century ago to keep Catholics out of public schools is still on the books in Oregon, one of the last states in the nation to prohibit teachers […]

President Obama Notes Muslim Contributions at Dinner Marking Ramadan

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) President Obama highlighted the contributions of Muslim Americans Tuesday (Sept. 1) during his first Iftar dinner marking the observance of Ramadan. “Islam, as we know, is part of America,” he said, addressing, diplomats, faith leaders and members of […]

Jews, Seeking Allies, Reach Out to Latino Evangelicals

posted by mconsoli

LOS ANGELES — Early on a weekday morning, dozens of Latino evangelical leaders stream into a large church on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Greeting one another in Spanish, they sip coffee and share pastries until they are informed that […]

Zondervan to Publish Updated NIV Bible

posted by mconsoli

Zondervan to Publish Updated NIV Bible (RNS) The copyright holder of the New International Version of the Bible said Tuesday (Sept. 1) it plans to release an updated version of the popular translation in 2011. “As time passes and English […]

Muslims to Pray in D.C. for ‘Soul of America’

posted by mconsoli

(UNDATED) Tens of thousands of Muslims plan to pray “for the soul of America” outside the U.S. Capitol in September in what is being described as a first-of-its-kind event. The event, spearheaded by the Dar-ul-Islam mosque in Elizabeth, N.J., will […]

After ‘Da Vinci,’ Opus Dei Cautiously Optimistic About New Film

posted by mconsoli

(UNDATED) Three years after “The Da Vinci Code” sent Opus Dei scrambling to counter the film’s depiction of a masochistic, murderous cabal, members of the Catholic organization have cautious hopes for a biopic of their founding father, St. Josemaria Escriva […]

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Former Muslim Wants to See Change
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=348P3ooQUPk   Author and former Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke at the National Press Club on April 7th and said there needs to be five amendments to Islam. She said “individuals” within Islam today ...

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

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 ...

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, ...

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 ...

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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