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October 2009 Archives

Archdiocese of Miami Bans Conservative Catholic Movement

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The Archdiocese of Miami has banned the Legionaries of Christ, a conservative Catholic movement, saying it broke a promise to restrict its ministry to members and was “involved” in several schools without approval. In an Oct. 29 letter to […]

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Muslim Pilgrims at Risk for Swine Flu Asked to Stay Away from Mecca this Year

posted by mconsoli

Oct. 30–Fearing a massive outbreak of fever and germs, the World Health Organization and Saudi Arabia are asking people who are at higher risk for getting the H1N1 virus to stay home from one of the holiest rituals known to […]

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Evangelical Leader Dobson Leaving Radio Show

posted by mconsoli

James Dobson, the voice of conservative Christian group Focus on the Family, will no longer host its flagship radio broadcast and is cutting formal ties with the organization that he founded more than 30 years ago, the evangelical group said […]

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Gunman Shoots, Wounds Two at Los Angeles Synagogue

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Synagogues in Los Angeles were on high alert Thursday (Oct. 29) after a gunman shot two men heading to morning prayers in the city’s North Hollywood neighborhood. Two men were in the underground parking lot of Adat Yeshurun Valley […]

On Hot-Button Issues, the UCC is Anything but Cold

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) When it comes to hot-button political issues, the United Church of Christ is anything but wishy-washy. Its new general minister and president, the Rev. Geoffrey Black, has delivered 17,000 petition signatures to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, urging health-care reform […]

Lutherans Ask Forgiveness for 16th-Century Persecutions

posted by mconsoli

GENEVA (RNS/ENI) Lutheran World Federation leaders plan to apologize for their ancestors 16th-century persecution of Anabaptists, religious reformers whose successors include Mennonites and the Amish. “We ask for forgiveness — from God and from our Mennonite sisters and brothers — […]

eBay Blocks Auction to Raise Money for Accused Killer of Abortion Doctor

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The online auction house eBay has halted a proposed auction of items that aimed to raise funds for the defense of the man charged in the May killing of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller. “Based on the details we […]

Congregations Keep on Giving, Despite the Recession

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Despite the economic recession, a plurality of congregations reported an increase in donations in the first half of 2009, according to a new study. More than two-thirds of 1,500 congregations surveyed said fundraising has increased (37 percent) or held […]

Orthodox Union Effective, but Controversial

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) As Congress began writing legislation last spring to give businesses and homeowners tax incentives to make their homes more environmentally friendly, Nathan Diament looked at the legislation and saw a hole. Director of public policy for the Orthodox Union, […]

Jewish Leaders Welcome New Catholic Statement on Conversion

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Jewish leaders are welcoming a revised statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that rejects suggestions that interfaith dialogue could lead to the conversion and baptism of Jews. American Jewish organizations had raised concerns that a document released […]

Abortion Foe Urges ‘Burn in Hell’ Protest

posted by mconsoli

Anti-abortion activist Randall Terry is calling on people to burn effigies of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this Halloween, as part of a “Burn in Hell” video contest to protest the health care legislation in […]

Church of Scientology Convicted in France

posted by mconsoli

PARIS, Oct 27, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) — The Church of Scientology Tuesday was convicted of fraud and six of its members ordered to pay as much as $595,000 each, prosecutors in France said. The two plaintiffs in the trial […]

US Speaks Out Against Bid to Bar Religious Defamation

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration on Monday came out strongly against efforts by Islamic nations to bar the defamation of religions, saying the moves would restrict free speech. “Some claim that the best way to protect the freedom of religion […]

Jury Selection Begins in 1st Polygamist Sect Trial

posted by mconsoli

Prospective jurors lined up in a cold rain Monday outside a municipal building that will serve as a makeshift courthouse for the first of a dozen polygamist sect members charged with abuse of underage girls. Raymond Jessop, 38, is set […]

Vatican: Talks with Traditionalists Will Continue

posted by mconsoli

The Vatican said talks held Monday with a group of breakaway traditionalist Catholics were cordial and will continue over the coming months. The Vatican issued a statement at the end of an inaugural meeting between Vatican officials and a delegation […]

Dalai Lama to Tour Indian Region Despite China Ire

posted by mconsoli

DHARMSALA, India – The Dalai Lama is going ahead with a scheduled visit to India’s remote northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh next month, ignoring protests by China, which claims the region as its territory, a spokesman said Thursday. The Tibetan […]

Religion Keeps on Trucking (Without the Institutions)

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Religious institutions may be waning in the U.S, but private religious practices like prayer are actually on the rise, a new University of Chicago report reveals. While weekly attendees of religious services dropped from 32 to 26 percent of […]

Catholic Bishops Tell African Political Leaders to Come Clean

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) An international meeting of Catholic bishops called on Africa’s political leaders to be “saints” who “clean the continent of corruption.” The unusually strong language came in the official message of the Vatican’s Synod for Africa, which was […]

No More Holocaust Comparisons, Religious Leaders Say

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Religious leaders are urging their colleagues and politicians to keep comparisons to Nazism and the Holocaust out out of American public policy debates. The Interfaith Alliance responded to a recent onslaught of references to Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust, […]

African Anglican Bishop Backs Jail for Gays

posted by mconsoli

NAIROBI (RNS/ENI) An Anglican bishop in Uganda has rejected proposals that gays and lesbians should face the death penalty for sexual assault in some cases, but says prison terms should remain as a deterrent to homosexuality. “We want to state […]

Dept. of Homeland Security Amends Uniform Policy for Sikhs

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The Department of Homeland Security has amended its uniform and grooming policies after a Sikh man lost his job for wearing a turban and refusing to shave. Federal standards had required security guards to be clean-shaven and to wear […]

Sweat Lodge Survivor Speaks Out

posted by mconsoli

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – A woman who took part in an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony tells The Associated Press that the spiritual guru who led the event pushed participants too far in what was supposed to be a life-expanding experience that […]

Imams Settle Case over Removal from Plane

posted by mconsoli

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct 21, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) — Six Muslim imams, forced off a flight in Minneapolis after other passengers voiced concerns, settled their lawsuit against the airlines and federal officials. The clerics called the settlement, awaiting approval by a […]

R. Crumb Zaps the Book of Genesis in Latest Work

posted by mconsoli

LOS ANGELES – His religious upbringing might well be as unorthodox as the psychedelic-inspired comic-strip characters that have made R. Crumb the most famous underground artist of his time. Which, come to think of it, may have made Crumb the […]

New Vatican Plan to Welcome Disaffected Anglicans

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican announced a stunning decision Tuesday to make it easier for Anglicans to convert, reaching out to those who are disaffected by the election of women and gay bishops to join the Catholic Church’s conservative ranks. […]

Guantanamo Detainees Case Reaches Supreme Court

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to decide whether Guantanamo detainees who are considered no threat can be ordered released in the United States – over the objections of the Obama administration and Congress – if the prisoners have […]

SC Republican Chairmen Apologize for Jewish Remark

posted by mconsoli

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Two Republican county officials in South Carolina have apologized after they disparaged Jews in a newspaper op-ed in support of a fiscally conservative U.S. senator. The chairmen, Edwin Merwin Jr. and Jim Ulmer, wrote the newspaper in […]

3rd Person Dies in Ariz. Sweat Lodge; Suit Planned

posted by mconsoli

The family of a Minnesota woman who died more than a week after being overcome in an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony said Sunday that she prided herself on leading a healthy and active life. Liz Neuman, 49, of Prior Lake […]

Bankruptcy Filing Delays Church Sex Abuse Case

posted by mconsoli

WILMINGTON, Del. – A bankruptcy filing by the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington was the best way to ensure reconciliation and compensation for all victims of clergy sexual abuse in the diocese, the bishop said Monday. The diocese filed for Chapter […]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I to Visit U.S. This Week

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, will visit New Orleans this week (Oct. 20-24) for a symposium on the environment with scientists, policymakers and religious leaders. Bartholomew, spiritual leader to 275 million Orthodox Christians […]

Southern Baptist Leader Apologizes for Holocaust Reference

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) A top Southern Baptist official has apologized to Jews for saying Democrats’ proposals to reform health care are “precisely what the Nazis did.” “It was never my intention to equate the Obama administration’s health care reform proposals with anything […]

Atheism 3.0 Finds a Little More Room for Belief

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Bruce Sheiman doesn’t believe in God, but he does believe in religion. Setting aside the question of whether God exists, it’s clear that the benefits of faith far outweigh its costs, he argues in his new book, “An Atheist […]

Christians Having a Cow Over Marge Simpson’s Playboy Debut

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The issue of Playboy magazine that will start hitting newsstands Friday (Oct. 16) bears an image of a semi-nude Marge Simpson, the cartoon matriarch of “The Simpsons.” The ploy is in part a tribute to the Fox Broadcasting Company […]

Smithsonian to Open Evolution Hall, Launch Dialogue with Faith

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural history will open a new permanent exhibit on to the “discovery and understanding of human origins” next March and convene a panel of experts to bridge the gap between religion and science. With […]

Catholic Bishops Threaten to Pull Support for Health Care Reform

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The nation’s Catholic bishops have threatened to pull their support for health care reform unless their concerns about abortion and access for immigrants are addressed by lawmakers. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which supports universal access to health […]

Va. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Property Dispute Case

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to review a lower court decision that awarded property rights to nine conservative congregations that broke from the Episcopal Church in 2006. A circuit court judge in Northern Virginia’s Fairfax County sided with […]

Retreat Leader Speaks Out Over Sweat Lodge Deaths

posted by mconsoli

LOS ANGELES – The self-help expert who led a spiritual retreat in Arizona where two people died after being overcome in a sweat lodge said the tragedy last week has left him “frustrated and confused.” At a seminar outside Los […]

African Cardinals Denounce “Cultural Imperialism”

posted by mconsoli

African cardinals denounced the “cultural imperialism” of wealthy countries in their aid, trade and health care policies for Africa, saying Wednesday that the West’s promotion of abortion rights and condoms is destroying the continent’s moral fabric. African prelates attending the […]

Latest Fla. Court Battle Centers Around Teenage Convert

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) First there was Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy torn between two nations. Then there was Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman torn between two families. Now comes Rifqa Bary, the teenage runaway torn between two faiths. If you’re involved in […]

Schwarzenegger Angers Sikhs by Vetoing Kirpan Bill

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed as “unnecessary” a bill that would require law enforcement officials to learn about Sikhs, specifically a ceremonial dagger called a kirpan considered a central article of faith. “The veto message makes no sense […]

Bishops Bemoan Condoms, Gays as Threats to Marriage

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Cohabitation, divorce, contraception and same-sex unions are undermining the traditional meaning and purposes of marriage, the nation’s Catholic bishops warn in an upcoming statement. “We are troubled by the fact that far too many people do not understand what […]

Mormon Leader: Religious Freedom at Risk

posted by mconsoli

The anti-Mormon backlash after California voters overturned gay marriage last fall is similar to the intimidation of Southern blacks during the civil rights movement, a high-ranking Mormon says in a speech to be delivered Tuesday. Elder Dallin H. Oaks refers […]

Tens of Thousands Rally in D.C. for Gay Rights

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Tens of thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their allies rallied at the foot of the U.S. Capitol on Sunday (Oct. 11) to push for federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Rainbow-colored outfits and flags adorned many […]

Pope Elevates 5 New Saints, 1 for Work in Hawaii

posted by mconsoli

(AP) VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI canonized five new saints Sunday, including a 19th-century priest whose work with leprosy patients on a Hawaiian island has been hailed by U.S. President Barack Obama as inspiring those helping AIDS sufferers in […]

Victim in Spiritual Ceremony was in Good Shape, Family Says

posted by mconsoli

Associated Press – A 38-year-old New York woman who died after sitting in a sauna-like sweat lodge at a scenic Arizona resort was an avid surfer and hiker who was “in top shape,” took self-improvement seriously and had a passion […]

Religious Groups Praise Obama’s Nobel Prize

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Religious leaders, from the National Association of Evangelicals to Vatican officials, praised Friday’s (Oct. 9) selection of President Obama as the winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee specifically cited Obama for his “extraordinary efforts to […]

United Jewish Communities to Become Jewish Federations of North America

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) United Jewish Communities, one of the largest American Jewish organizations, has changed its name to the Jewish Federations of North America to more closely align itself with local chapters across the country. “Our new name makes a clear […]

Vatican to Canonize Hawaii’s Leper Priest

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) When Pope Benedict XVI proclaims Blessed Damien de Veuster a saint on Sunday (Oct. 11), among the 40,000 expected attendees at the ceremony in St. Peter’s Square will be the King and Queen of Belgium and a White House […]

Canadian Muslim Group Calls for Burka Ban

posted by mconsoli

(AP) A Canadian Muslim organization urged the Canadian government Thursday to ban traditional Muslim garments designed to cover a woman’s face, saying they are medieval and misogynist symbols of extremism with no basis in Islam. The Muslim Canadian Congress has […]

For Dalai Lama, Some Rules are Meant to be Broken

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) If there were a guide book for globe-trotting gurus, its rules might run something like this: 1. Don’t get too involved in politics. 2. Never criticize your host country. 3. Welcome converts to your faith. 4. Act as sage-like […]

Anti-Nuke Campaign Suddenly En Vogue with Evangelicals

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) In a dramatic about-face for a movement that a generation ago embraced a Cold War nuclear shield against the Soviets, evangelical Christians are now spreading the gospel of nuclear disarmament. Exhibit A: eliminating nuclear weapons will be on the […]

Supreme Court Weighs Fate of Mojave Cross

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) When Congress passed a law transferring the property around a war memorial cross in the Mojave National Preserve into private hands, did that resolve a court ruling that the cross violated church-state separation? The U.S. Supreme Court grappled with […]

Churches Say They’re Not Seeking Abortion Funding

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) At least two denominations say they are not seeking taxpayer funding of abortion as part of health care reform after an online newsletter erroneously reported that they were. Lifenews.com reported — and later retracted — on Oct. 2 that […]

Gallup: Jews Maintain Highest Approval Ratings for Obama

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) U.S. Jews give President Barack Obama a high job approval rating, more than other religious groups and significantly more than the general population, Gallup reports. While 52 percent of U.S. adults approve of the job the president is doing, […]

Masons See New Life in Dan Brown’s ‘Lost Symbol’

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) A half-century ago, when civic groups were a staple of American life, 4.1 million men regularly spent evenings at Masonic lodges around the country. That period, from the late 1950s to the early 1960s, would be the peak of […]

Catholic Bishops Backtrack on Jewish Conversion

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) U.S. Catholic bishops have tried to reassure Jewish leaders that interfaith dialogue will never be used as a means of proselytism or a “disguised invitation to baptism,” after months of interfaith tension. The overture from the U.S. Conference of […]

Obama Postpones Meeting with Dalai Lama

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON – A decision by Barack Obama to postpone his first meeting as president with the Dalai Lama is overshadowing a visit to Washington this week by the exiled Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader. The Dalai Lama arrived Monday in Washington […]

Supreme Court Rejects Conn. Abuse Case, Calif. Property Fight

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Supreme Court announced Monday (Oct. 5) that it will not intervene in two prominent church-state cases, one involving a Catholic diocese in Connecticut and the other a former Episcopal parish in California. The Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn. […]

Envoy Sketches Vision for U.S. Vatican Relations

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The new American ambassador to the Holy See met the press on Monday (Oct. 5), for the first time since his nomination was announced in May. Miguel H. Diaz received a group of 10 American and Italian […]

Israeli Rabbis Rule Against `Shabbat Elevators’

posted by mconsoli

JERUSALEM (RNS) Four influential ultra-Orthodox rabbis in Israel have decreed that Jews may not use so-called “Shabbat elevators,” which enable observant Jews to use elevators without breaking rules against manual labor on the Sabbath. This is the first time a […]

Pope Benedict Meets New U.S. Envoy, Talks Arms Control and Abortion

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) In a meeting with the new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, Pope Benedict XVI praised Obama administration policies on arms control and inter-religious relations, but underscored a key area of disagreement by reaffirming the Catholic Church’s […]

Jewish Holiday Objects Allowed Through U.S. Airport Security

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will allow religiously observant Jews to transport ritual objects related to the holiday of Sukkot in airports and through security checkpoints in the U.S. The move comes at the request of the New York-based […]

Congress Puts ‘God’ Back in Capitol Visitor Center

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) When the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center opened in December 2008, the national motto, “In God We Trust,” was nowhere to be found. But almost a year later, after complaints from members of Congress, a new engraving of the […]

Dalai Lama Gives Emory $50,000

posted by mconsoli

The Dalai Lama announced this week a gift of $50,000 to an Emory University initiative that is developing a science education curriculum for Tibetan monastics. Emory officials also announced that the Tibetan spiritual leader will return to the campus in […]

Report: Support for Abortion on Decline in America

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) Support for abortion is declining across the country, with Americans now evenly divided on whether it should be legal, a new report shows. In 2007 and 2008, supporters of legal abortion more clearly outnumbered opponents, but recent surveys […]

Does Obama’s Agenda Include Religious Freedom?

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) When the Dalai Lama came to Washington two years ago, he was feted with the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, as President George W. Bush and a bipartisan delegation looked on. But as the exiled Tibetan […]

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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