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December 2009 Archives

Evading Vietnam Police, Monks Head Underground

posted by mconsoli

HANOI, Vietnam – Followers of a famous Buddhist monk have abandoned the temple in southern Vietnam where they had sought sanctuary and are on the run from police, who have been pressuring them for months to break up their monastic […]

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In a Jerusalem Hospital, ‘Enemies’ Bond

posted by mconsoli

Marya and Orel, a Palestinian Muslim and an Israeli Jew, both 8, have become friends in Alyn Hospital. But it is almost more powerful to observe their parents, the ones who grasp the conflict that put them there. He can […]

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At Church Cafe, Eat What You Want and Pay What You Can

posted by mconsoli

HIGHLAND PARK, N.J. (RNS) At A Better World Cafe, it’s not exactly “all you can eat.” It’s more like whatever you can pay. The new church-affiliated restaurant is offering customers an innovative new dining option: choose the size of your […]

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FLDS Asks High Court to Put Brakes on Trust Case

posted by mconsoli

Dec. 30–A polygamous sect is asking the Utah Supreme Court for emergency relief after a lower court judge ordered documents sealed in a property trust dispute and refused to hear sect members’ objections to the sale of trust assets. In […]

US Appeals Court Nixes Vatican Bank Holocaust Suit

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY – An American appeals court on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit by Holocaust survivors who alleged the Vatican bank accepted millions of dollars of their valuables stolen by Nazi sympathizers. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco […]

Pope’s Attacker Treated

posted by mconsoli

Vatican court will judge the woman who launched a Christmas Eve assault on Pope Benedict XVI “within a few weeks”. The 25-year-old woman, identified as Susanna Maiolo, leapt over a security barrier and knocked the Pope to the ground at […]

New Merton Book Stirs Up Controversy

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Rarely has a romance seemed so star-crossed. He was 51, she 25. She was a pretty, petite student-nurse; he was stocky and bald, with a wandering intellect and a boisterous laugh. He was also the most celebrated Catholic monk […]

15 Titles to Nourish your Soul

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The holiday season and the New Year — often full of stress, drama and emotional baggage — is a fine time to consider spiritual issues. The 15 titles listed here touch on topics ranging from church architecture to the […]

Mississippi Ranked as Most Religious State

posted by Ju-Don Roberts

Mississippi is the most religious state in the country, according to poll results recently released by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. The state comes in No. 1 across all categories evaluated: the importance of religion in the […]

Second Irish Bishop Resigns in Wake of Abuse Report

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) An Irish Catholic bishop implicated in a recent report on clerical sex abuse resigned on Wednesday (Dec. 23), making his the second such resignation in less than a week. In a statement announcing the move, Bishop James […]

Docs in Fatal Sweat Lodge Case Show Past Problems

posted by mconsoli

PRESCOTT, Ariz. – Documents released Monday by Arizona authorities investigating a fatal sweat lodge ceremony show that serious medical problems occurred at past events led by self-help guru James Arthur Ray. Three people died after the Oct. 8 sweat lodge […]

Israel to Build 700 Apartments in East Jerusalem

posted by mconsoli

RAMALLAH, West Bank – Israel announced Monday it is building nearly 700 new apartments for Jews in east Jerusalem, where Palestinians hope to set up the capital of a future state. The U.S., Palestinians and the European Union condemned the […]

Economic Squeeze Produces a New Kind of Seminarian

posted by mconsoli

NEWTON, Mass. (RNS) When Newton, Mass. artist Paula Rendino needed fresh inspiration last year (2008), she sought her muse in an unlikely place: seminary. Art school would have been “too boring,” Rendino explained. She yearned to bring fresh depth to […]

Book Finds That Religious Toys Are More than Child’s Play

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) On the first day of her introductory religion class at Merrimack College just north of Boston, professor Rebecca Sachs Norris put her students to work at having some fun. She assigned teams of three or four students to play […]

Blasts kill 26 Iraqis Before Solemn Shiite Holiday

posted by mkress

Baghdad–Bombs hit Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad and a central Iraqi city Thursday, killing at least 26 people and wounding dozens more, in the latest attack in the lead-up to Ashoura, the sect’s most solemn annual rite. The blasts raised fears […]

In Bethlehem, Holiday Cheer Edges Out Gloom

posted by mkress

Bethlehem, West Bank–Thousands of pilgrims from around the world descended on the traditional birthplace of Jesus on Thursday, greeted by choruses, scout troops and rock bands for the most upbeat Christmas celebrations this Palestinian town has seen in years. But […]

First Jesus-era House Discovered in Nazareth

posted by mconsoli

NAZARETH, Israel – Just in time for Christmas, archaeologists on Monday unveiled what may have been the home of one of Jesus’ childhood neighbors. The humble dwelling is the first dating to the era of Jesus to be discovered in […]

Ex-President Carter Offers Apology to Jews

posted by mconsoli

ATLANTA – Former President Jimmy Carter is offering the Jewish community an apology for any of his “words and deeds” that may have upset them. Carter writes in an open letter to the Jewish community this week that he hopes […]

Abortion Looms as Possible Block to Health Bill

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON – The way abortions are covered under health care reform is a major obstacle to finalizing the legislation, even though the House and Senate both agree that no federal money should be used. The stumbling block is whether insurance […]

Covenant to Bind Anglicans Sent Out to Churches

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The final draft of a document aimed at mediating disputes between liberals and conservatives in the global Anglican Communion was sent on Friday (Dec. 18) to its 38 provinces for approval. The Anglican Communion, which is the world’s third-largest […]

Calif. County Orders Religious Symbols Removed

posted by mconsoli

SANTA ROSA, Calif. – California’s Sonoma County has ordered officials to remove angels, stars and other religious symbols from Christmas trees in county buildings over concerns they violate the Constitution. County Administrator Chris Thomas issued the order Monday to managers […]

Pope Says Visit to Holocaust Memorial ‘Upsetting’

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI on Monday described a visit to Israel’s Holocaust memorial as a disturbing encounter with hatred, days after his decision to move the controversial World War II-era pope closer to sainthood angered Jewish groups. The […]

Churches Blast Copenhagen Summit for Lack of Agreement

posted by mconsoli

GENEVA (RNS/ENI) Faith groups have expressed disappointment and anger over the outcome of the United Nations talks on climate change that have ended in Copenhagen, pledging to continue to press for climate justice. “With a lack of transparency, the agreement […]

Oral Roberts Remembered as Charismatic Leader

posted by mconsoli

TULSA, Okla. – Evangelist Oral Roberts was remembered Monday as a charismatic leader who deftly used television to spread the message of Christianity throughout the world. Thousands packed an arena at Oral Roberts University for the memorial service for the […]

Jews Angry After Pope Moves Pius XII Closer to Sainthood

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Jewish leaders warned of new strains in Catholic-Jewish relations after Pope Benedict XVI moved his controversial wartime predecessor, Pope Pius XII, one step closer to possible sainthood. Benedict signed a decree on Saturday (Dec. 19) recognizing Pius’ […]

Report: Near 70 percent of Nations Face Religious Restrictions

posted by aroan

WASHINGTON (RNS) About one-third of the countries in the world have high restrictions on religion, exposing almost 70 percent of the globe’s population to limitations on their faith, new research shows. The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life based […]

Irish Bishop Resigns Over Sex Abuse Scandal

posted by aroan

VATICAN CITY (RNS) An Irish Catholic bishop criticized in a recent report on clerical sex abuse apologized to victims on Thursday (Dec.17), the same day the Vatican announced his resignation. “I humbly apologize once again to all who were abused […]

Survey: Two-thirds of Protestant pastors consider Islam ‘dangerous’

posted by aroan

(RNS) Two out of three Protestant pastors believe Islam is a “dangerous” religion, according to a new survey from a Southern Baptist-affiliated research group. The survey of more than 1,000 Protestant clergy by LifeWay Research, released Monday (Dec. 14) found […]

Obama’s Muslim Outreach Named Top Religion Story of 2009

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) President Obama’s speech to the Muslim world has been ranked by the nation’s religion journalists as the top religion story of the year. The June speech in Cairo, in which the president quoted from the Quran and said America […]

Clergy Unite On a Common Message: Thou Shalt Be Civil

posted by mconsoli

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) It’s gotten ugly out there in the public square — on television, at public meetings, on the Internet. Whether it’s health care reform specifically, or politics generally, people seem to demonize each other, shout each other down […]

Pope Says Environment as Great a Threat as Terrorism

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Neglect of the natural environment is as great a threat to peace and prosperity as global terrorism, Pope Benedict XVI said in his most extensive ecological statement to date, released by the Vatican on Tuesday (Dec. 15). […]

Evangelist Oral Roberts dies in Calif. at age 91

posted by nsymmonds

TULSA, Okla. – Oral Roberts, a pioneer in televangelism who founded a multimillion-dollar ministry and a university that bears his name, died Tuesday. He was 91. Roberts died of complications from pneumonia in Newport Beach, Calif., according to his spokesman, […]

Richard Cizik Discusses His Work at Climate Summit

posted by aroan

Rev. Richard Cizik is attending the Climate Summit in Copenhagen. In an interview with Odyssey Networks, he describes what he hopes will come of his visit. Video courtesy of Odyssey Networks  

Archbishop Desmond Tutu Speaks at Climate Summit

posted by aroan

At the United Nation’s Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke. During a press conference, he said what he would say to President Obama about global warming. Video courtesy of Odyssey Networks.

Archbishop of Canterbury Condemns Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) After weeks of intense pressure from Episcopal gay rights groups, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has condemned the “shocking severity” of proposed anti-gay laws in Uganda. The spiritual leader of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion also said that “I […]

Accused Parents Say Son’s Faith-Healing Death Was No Crime

posted by mconsoli

PORTLAND, Ore. (RNS) Two parents charged with criminally negligent homicide in the faith-healing death of their teenage son will ask a judge to dismiss the charges because they followed the advice of state child welfare workers. Attorneys for the couple, […]

Jewish Leaders Scramble for White House Invite

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) When is a Hanukkah party more than just a Hanukkah party? When it is hosted by the White House, and viewed as emblematic of the Obama administration’s relationship with American Jews. The White House cut the size of […]

Pope Outraged and Shamed by Irish Clergy’s Abuse

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI expressed “outrage,” “shame,” and “profound regret” over revelations of large-scale child abuse by Irish Catholic priests, the Vatican said on Friday (Dec. 11). The Vatican’s statement came after Benedict met with Ireland’s two leading […]

Obama Wishes Jews Worldwide a Happy Hanukkah

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama says Hanukkah’s lessons should inspire everyone to be thankful for what they have. The eight-day celebration, beginning at sunset Friday, commemorates the rededication of the temple by Jewish rebels known as the Maccabees after their […]

Green Advocates Go Blue in Seeking to Cleanse World’s Waters

posted by mconsoli

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) The green movement is going blue for many groups of different faiths that consider it a religious duty to protect the world’s bodies of waters. While water advocacy is a fairly recent phenomenon for some religious groups […]

Lesbian Bishop Aware but Undaunted by Controversy

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Since becoming the first lesbian to be elected a bishop in the Episcopal Church on Saturday (Dec. 5), the Rev. Mary Glasspool has been hailed as a gay rights pioneer and maligned as the straw that will finally break […]

Obama Says ‘Holy War’ Can Never Be a ‘Just War’

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) In a speech bemoaning the necessity of war and the potential for peace, President Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize Thursday (Dec. 10) by declaring that “no holy war can ever be a just war.” In his 36-minute […]

Christians Dabble in Eastern, New Age Beliefs

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) The vast majority of U.S. residents may be Christian, but nearly a quarter of them delve into a range of Eastern or New Age beliefs, a new study shows. Asked about their supernatural experiences, significant minorities of American […]

Irish Bishops Debate Resignations Over Child Abuse

posted by mconsoli

DUBLIN – Ireland’s Catholic bishops privately debated Wednesday whether any of their number should resign in the wake of a damning investigation that blamed five of them for helping conceal child abuse by Dublin-based priests. Two of the bishops said […]

Episcopal Church Membership Drops by 3 Percent

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Domestic membership in the Episcopal Church dropped by 3 percent in 2008, continuing a decline in which the denomination has lost almost 200,000 American members since 2004, according to Episcopal researchers. The Episcopal Church now counts slightly more than […]

Mormon Senator Pens Hanukkah Tune ‘For the Jewish people’

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) The latest Hanukkah tune is coming from an unexpected place this year: the halls of Congress and the pen of a conservative Mormon senator. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is the co-writer of a revamped Hanukkah song that debuted […]

Anglican Panel Urges Episcopalians to Reject Lesbian Bishop

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) An international Anglican commission on Tuesday (Dec. 8) urged Episcopalians to exercise “gracious restraint” by not confirming the election of a lesbian as a bishop in Los Angeles. The Rev. Mary Glasspool was elected a suffragan (assistant) bishop by […]

Faith-Based Objections to Vaccines May Threaten Common Good

posted by mconsoli

ST. LOUIS (RNS) Most of the world’s religions share some version of the golden rule of treating others as you wish to be treated. That notion was important to the theology of Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Church of […]

Swiss Aren’t Only Ones to Resist Mosque Construction

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) When Switzerland recently voted to ban the construction of minaret towers at mosques, some observers interpreted it as an expression of European xenophobia that would never find a home in multicultural America. But to say it couldn’t happen here […]

Second Gay Bishop Poses Stark Choice for Episcopal Church

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) After years of warnings from Anglican leaders, Saturday’s (Dec. 5) election of a lesbian bishop poses a stark question for the Episcopal Church: Does it want to continue to be a full member in the global Anglican Communion, or […]

Jewish Group Persuades Grad Students to Stay in New Orleans

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) A few months ago, Galia Aharoni was well into her final year of law school at Tulane University and going back and forth about whether to stay in New Orleans or take her law degree to the West Coast […]

Christian Group that Excludes Gays Headed to Supreme Court

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday (Dec. 7) to hear the case of an evangelical Christian group that was prevented from being recognized as a campus organization at a California law school because it excluded gays and lesbians. […]

Texas Tycoon Uses Bible to Drill for Oil in Israel

posted by aroan

Founder of Zion Oil John Brown is a true believer. So much so that he has moved his oil rig to Israel to dig for oil where he says Biblical prophecy tells him to and is hoping to hit it […]

Vatican, Russia Agree to Full Diplomatic Ties

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Pope Benedict XVI agreed Thursday (Dec. 3) to establish full diplomatic relations between Russia and the Holy See, a step likely to be seen as healing decades of mutual suspicion and tension. […]

Patel is First Muslim to Win Grawemeyer Award

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Eboo Patel, founder and executive director of the community service group Interfaith Youth Core, has become the first Muslim to win the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in Religion from the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the University of Louisville. Patel, […]

New Audio Jewish Bible Available for the Blind

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) An audio version of the modern edition of the Jewish Bible is being made available for free to the blind. The Jewish Publication Society spent more than a year recording 60 hours of the JPS Tanakh, in a project […]

Documents Show Ex-Conn. Bishop Downplayed Abuse

posted by mconsoli

HARTFORD, Conn. – Recently retired New York Cardinal Edward Egan expressed skepticism over sexual abuse allegations against priests when he was a Connecticut bishop a decade ago, saying he found it “marvelous” that so few priests had been accused over […]

Report: Anti-Muslim Discrimination Up, Hate Crimes Down

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Muslim Americans faced more anti-Muslim bias but fewer physical assaults in 2008, according to a report released Thursday (Dec. 3) by the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. “In 2008, Muslims continued to face barriers to their full and equal […]

Gay Marriage Defeated in New York, Approved in D.C.

posted by mconsoli

NEW YORK (RNS) Religious activists on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate vowed to continue their work after the New York State Senate rejected a gay marriage bill on Wednesday (Dec. 2). The 34-28 vote, coming after debate in […]

Vietnam Buddhists Complain of Ongoing Harassment

posted by mconsoli

HANOI, Vietnam – Followers of a famed Buddhist monk say they are continuing to suffer police harassment two months after they were forcibly evicted from a monastery in southern Vietnam. The followers of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, who has […]

Fire Safety Reminders Issued for December Holidays

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Secular and religious groups are urging Christians and Jews to take safety precautions during Christmas and Hanukkah, when candles, electric lights and flammable decorations create fire hazards. Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish festival of lights that begins at sunset on […]

Rabbis, Heterosexuals Join NJ Gay Marriage Debate

posted by mconsoli

LAKEWOOD, N.J. – The leaders in the local large Orthodox Jewish community go to great lengths to keep out the outside world, discouraging nonbusiness use of the Internet and encouraging strict filters to keep the ungodly out when members must […]

Germany’s Highest Court Rules Against Sunday Shopping

posted by mconsoli

BERLIN (RNS) Constitutional provisions that declare Sunday a day of rest mean German merchants will have to significantly rein in the number of days they are open for business, Germany’s highest court ruled Tuesday (Dec. 1). The ruling was prompted […]

Ore. Lawmakers Seek to Repeal Ban on Teachers’ Religious Garb

posted by mconsoli

PORTLAND, Ore. (RNS) Teachers are likely to win the right to wear religious clothing such as turbans, yarmulkes, crosses and headscarves in public schools when state lawmakers convene in February, elected officials say. Oregon’s relatively unique prohibition on teachers’ religious […]

Va. Instructors: Yoga Regulations Unconstitutional

posted by mconsoli

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Three Virginia yoga instructors aren’t feeling so Zen about a state plan to regulate and license would-be teachers of the ancient discipline. The instructors say they plan to file a federal lawsuit in Alexandria on Tuesday claiming […]

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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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