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June 2010 Archives

Caterpillar Divestment Doesn’t Play Well with Peoria Presbyterians

posted by aroan

By DANIEL BURKE c. 2010 Religion News Service (RNS) Proposals to have the Presbyterian Church (USA) denounce or divest from Caterpillar Inc. because the company sells bulldozers to Israel are not playing well in Peoria. The central Illinois city is […]

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Orthodox Woman Named Among 50 ‘Most Influential Rabbis’

posted by aroan

(RNS) An Orthodox Jewish woman is one of Newsweek’s 50 Most Influential Rabbis in America this year, reflecting a major shift in the magazine’s fourth-annual compilation of top Jewish leaders. Sara Hurwitz, who debuts at No. 36, made headlines when […]

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48 Va. Inmates in Segregation Over Grooming Policy

posted by aroan

Associated Press – June 30, 2010 RICHMOND, Va. – Nearly 50 Virginia prisoners are being held in perpetual isolation because they refuse to cut their hair, several for religious reasons. The Associated Press reported in May that 10 Rastafarian inmates […]

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Pakistan: Google Site to be Monitored for ‘Blasphemy’

posted by aroan

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News June 26–(AKI) – Pakistan on Friday said it would monitor Google, Yahoo, and other popular websites to to weed out what the government considers material that could be offensive to Islam. The country in May blocked […]

Pope To Create New Office to Fight Secularization

posted by aroan

Associated Press – June 29, 2010 VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI is creating a new Vatican office to fight secularization and “re-evangelize” the West – a tacit acknowledgment that his attempts to reinvigorate Christianity in Europe haven’t succeeded and […]

Vatican Admonishes Austrian Cardinal for Comments

posted by aroan

Associated Press – June 28, 2010 VATICAN CITY – The Vatican on Monday issued an unprecedented rebuke of a top cardinal who had accused the retired Vatican No. 2 of blocking clerical sex abuse investigations, publicly dressing down a man […]

Caner Sacked as Seminary Dean After Probe into Background

posted by aroan

(RNS) After a seven-week probe into whether seminary dean Ergun Caner exaggerated his dramatic conversion from militant Islam to evangelical Christianity, Liberty University announced Caner will remain on faculty, but no longer as dean. The investigation, prompted by a growing […]

Supreme Court Rules Against Christian Legal Group

posted by aroan

By ADELLE M. BANKS c. 2010 Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday (June 28) that a Christian student group must accept gays and non-Christians as members if it wants to be officially recognized by a […]

Is Facebook a Sin? Some Muslims Think So

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Do a Google search on Shirien Elamawy and you’ll find her Tweets, her Egyptian Gumbo website, her college newspaper columns, and the beginnings of her Muslim children’s book. What you won’t find anywhere is an image of Elamawy herself. […]

Vatican Secrecy Keeps Victims, Accused in the Dark

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Daniel Donohue doesn’t know when the call will come. He could be anywhere — at the supermarket, poolside with his four children, or in a classroom studying social work — when he learns the fate of the priest he […]

Raelians want to rehab `reputation’ of the swastika

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The Raelians have designated this Sunday (June 27) as “World Swastika Rehabilitation Day,” saying the ancient symbol should no longer be damned by its ties to Nazism. A cross with arms bent at 90-degree angles, the swastika was adopted […]

Traditional Hindu Temple Dedicated in Mississippi

posted by mconsoli

BRANDON, Miss. – A new Hindu temple is an incongruous sight in the middle of a bedroom community near the capital of Mississippi. The temple is believed to be among only a few in the South built in the ancient […]

Four in 10 Americans See Jesus’ Return by 2050

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Four in 10 Americans believe Jesus Christ will return to earth by 2050, while a slightly larger portion (46 percent) don’t believe they’ll see a Second Coming by mid-century, according to a new survey. As part of Smithsonian Magazine’s […]

Muslim Liquor Store Owners Get Help with Moral Dilemma

posted by mconsoli

CHICAGO – Prescribed by his Islamic faith to pray five times a day, Mazen Materieh often prostrates himself on one of the prayer rugs in the basement of his corner store. When he is done, he returns to his perch […]

Critics Say Caner Isn’t Only Ex-Muslim with Dubious Past

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Liberty University is expected to release a report this month on whether Ergun Caner, president of the school’s Baptist Theological Seminary, fabricated or exaggerated his life story as a former Muslim extremist rescued by Jesus. Caner is no ordinary […]

Homeowners Weigh Morality of Walking-Out on Mortgages

posted by mconsoli

ORLANDO, Fla. (RNS) Lynn Thompson quit paying the mortgage on her investment property — not because she couldn’t afford the payments, but because she thinks walking away is better for her long-term financial health. Thompson bought the property here for […]

Faith Groups Give G20 Nations Failing Grade on Poverty

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) An alliance of religious denominations has given the world’s richest nations a near-failing grade for their progress on eradicating world poverty. Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of more than 75 religious groups that advocates debt forgiveness for poor […]

New Orleans Clergy Cool to Idea of Armed Parishioners

posted by mconsoli

Religion News Service NEW ORLEANS (RNS) The Louisiana Legislature may have cleared parishioners to carry guns to church, but the idea seems to sit pretty uncomfortably with clergy, whom legislators thought they were helping by providing homegrown security. “Unequivocally, no,” […]

For Clergy, Losing Faith Can Be an Occupational Hazard

posted by mconsoli

NEW YORK (RNS) For some clergy, it is the problem that dare not speak its name. Affected pastors say they cannot be themselves among their congregations or colleagues, sometimes even with their own families. It’s a huge and burdensome secret […]

Vatican Emissary Wraps up Talks with Castro

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican’s foreign secretary ended a five-day trip to Cuba with a “cordial, respectful and continuous” talk with President Raul Castro on Sunday (June 20). The meeting between Castro and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti underscored the increasingly significant […]

Guns-In-Churches Bill Sent to La. Governor

posted by mconsoli

BATON ROUGE, La. (RNS) The Louisiana House approved and sent to Gov. Bobby Jindal on Thursday (June 17) a revived bill that would allow people qualified to carry concealed weapons to tote them to their house of worship. Lawmakers voted […]

Pagans to Pray for Earth’s Healing from Oil Spill

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Bonfires, drum circles, dancing, candlelit meditation and other ceremonial rituals help usher in the summer solstice at the annual Pagan Spirit Gathering, now in its 30th year in the United States. Along with celebrating the longest day of the […]

It’s Hats-Off to Female Bishop, and Not In a Good Way

posted by mconsoli

(RNS)Q: When is a hat more than a hat? A: When the hat is a bishop’s miter, and belongs to the female head of the Episcopal Church, symbolizing her rank in a church hierarchy dominated by men. In a public […]

New Rabbi Takes Helm of Terrorized Mumbai Jewish Center

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) An Israeli rabbi and his wife were appointed to continue the work of Jewish emissaries who were killed during the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. Rabbi Chanoch Gechtman and his wife, Leiky, will move to India’s financial capital […]

Muslim Families Proving Vital in War Against Terror

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Wiretaps. Informants. Financial records. They all play vital roles in U.S. government investigations to prevent terrorist attacks. But in the last six months, another investigative tool has received increased attention: cooperation from suspects’ families. Three times since December — […]

South African Church Leader Defends Noisy Horns at World Cup

posted by mconsoli

(RNS/ENInews) The captain of France’s national soccer team is said to have blamed noise from the “vuvuzela” for keeping his team awake at night and contributing to a poor match against Uruguay in the World Cup in Cape Town, South […]

Sikhs, Muslims Lobby Against Racial Profiling

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) Sikh and Muslim groups are pushing Congress to pass a bill prohibiting racial profiling that’s been languishing for more than nine years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Two groups, Muslim Advocates and the Sikh Coalition, are seeking passage […]

Abortion Strains Religious-Government Aid Coalition

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) It took Dr. Hanna Klaus four years and $1.6 million in federal funding, but she and her team have preached abstinence to more than 23,000 African teenagers. It’s the only way to curb the AIDS epidemic that’s sweeping […]

Southern Baptists Critique Big Oil, Oppose Gay Policies

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Southern Baptists issued a veiled but sharp critique of the nation’s oil companies on Wednesday (June 16), saying “all industries are … accountable to higher standards than to profit alone.” Members of the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Orlando, […]

Australian ‘Angel’ Saves Lives at Suicide Spot

posted by mconsoli

SYDNEY – In those bleak moments when the lost souls stood atop the cliff, wondering whether to jump, the sound of the wind and the waves was broken by a soft voice. “Why don’t you come and have a cup […]

Bishop Says New Mass Likely in Late 2011

posted by mconsoli

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (RNS) A historic change in the way Roman Catholics participate in Mass will likely begin Nov. 27, 2011, according to an Illinois bishop who’s been active in preparing for the changes. Bishop Edward Braxton of Belleville, Ill., […]

Report: Religious Groups See Slight Decrease in Giving

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) Religious organizations reported a 0.7 percent decrease in donations last year, according to a study by Giving USA Foundation, a marked contrast from the 5.5 percent increase in giving reported in 2008. Religious congregations accounted for 33 percent […]

Scientology and Abortion

posted by nsymmonds

Scientology and abortion. The Church of Scientology does not take a position on abortion. However, the subject comes up in the writings of church founder L.Ron Hubbard, which the church regards as sacred scripture. Scientology counseling seeks to rid the […]

New Anglican Church Faces Fiscal Challenges

posted by mconsoli

Editors’ note: This is a corrected version of a story that first appeared on Beliefnet June 9. AMESBURY, Mass. (RNS) When the Anglican Church in North America launched last year, founders were clear on what they didn’t want to be: […]

Baptists’ Large Military Presence Colors Gay Debate

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) In many religious circles, the repeal of a military ban on openly gay members is considered practically a done deal. But Southern Baptists, who have many more active-duty military chaplains than any other denomination, are not giving up without […]

Pope Praises Priests, Despite Scandal

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI hailed priests on Sunday as gifts to the world for their generous and courageous work, in a speech that didn’t mention the clergy sex abuse scandal. “Dear friends, the priest is a gift from […]

Reform Jewish Leader Announces Plans to Retire

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the largest Jewish congregational body in North America, has announced that he will retire in two years. Yoffie, 63, has helmed the Union for Reform Judaism since 1996, presiding over about 900 synagogues with […]

Prince Charles Praises Islamic Principles on Environment

posted by mconsoli

LONDON (RNS) Prince Charles, heir to the British throne and next in line as titular head of the Church of England, says Western society should learn from Islamic principles to save the environment. Charles told an audience at the Oxford […]

Gulf Spill Seeps Into Spiritual Life

posted by mconsoli

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) Twice a day, precisely at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., alarms ring on dozens of cell phones, alerting those participating in the Rev. Jim Woodard’s week-old Internet prayer initiative to spend one minute praying for relief from […]

Pope Begs Forgiveness, Promises Action on Abuse

posted by aroan

Associated Press – June 11, 2010 VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI begged forgiveness Friday from clerical abuse victims for the sins of priests and promised to “do everything possible” to ensure that prelates don’t rape or molest children ever […]

Mormon Church Agrees to Pay Fine Over Support for Prop. 8

posted by aroan

(RNS) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will pay a $5,000 fine for not reporting non-monetary contributions in support of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California. The California Fair Political Practices Commission concluded the church “failed […]

Broadway Play Explores Evangelical Faith, Gay Life

posted by mconsoli

A new Broadway play that has been nominated for a couple of Tony awards features a character that might seem rarer than a unicorn: a gay evangelical. “Next Fall,” by Geoffrey Nauffts, has already won the Outer Critics Circle Award […]

Thousands of Priests Rally in Defense of Pope

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY – An estimated 15,000 priests massed in St. Peter’s Square on Thursday in one of the largest such gatherings in a show of support for Pope Benedict XVI and the priesthood itself amid the clerical abuse scandal. Benedict […]

Campaigners for Women’s Ordination Protest at Vatican

posted by mconsoli

ROME (RNS/ENInews) A group of women demonstrated in Rome’s St Peter’s Square on Tuesday (June 8), saying they want “full and equal participation” in the Roman Catholic Church. The small group held a banner stating, “Ordain Catholic Women,” to the […]

African Religious Leaders Warn About HIV During World Cup

posted by mconsoli

NAIROBI (RNS/ENInews) African Christian and Muslim leaders are warning of increased vulnerability to HIV infections during the soccer World Cup in South Africa, which begins on Friday (June 11). The world soccer extravaganza is coming to Africa for the first […]

New Anglican Church Faces Fiscal Challenges

posted by mconsoli

AMESBURY, Mass. (RNS) When the Anglican Church in North America launched last year, founders were clear on what they didn’t want to be: the Episcopal Church. But as the ACNA marks its first anniversary with a meeting here this week, […]

Anti-torture Group Demands Probe of Doctors’ Role in Interrogation

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) The National Religious Campaign Against Torture wants the government to investigate claims that doctors and medical professionals performed unethical experiments on detainees in CIA custody during the Bush administration. On Tuesday (June 8), members of NRCAT voiced their […]

Haggard’s New Flock Finds Faith in Redemption

posted by nsymmonds

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (RNS) Colby Rockhill was one of the 14,000 members of New Life Church who saw founding pastor Ted Haggard dramatically fall from grace in a 2006 scandal involving gay sex and drugs. Yet Rockhill never gave up […]

Episcopalians Booted from Anglican Bodies Over Gay Bishops

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) The Episcopal Church has been removed from Anglican committees that engage in dialogue with other Christians and consider doctrinal issues, the latest fallout from the church’s consecration of a lesbian bishop last month. The Rev. Kenneth Kearon, secretary general […]

Israel Unearths 3,500-Year-Old Pagan Artifacts

posted by mconsoli

JERUSALEM – Archaeologists have unearthed a cache of rare, 35-century-old religious artifacts once used in pagan rituals, Israeli officials said Monday. The items were found during an excavation ordered by the Israel Antiquities Authority along the route of a new […]

Sikhs Blast ‘Raghead’ Comment Directed at S.C. Candidate

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) The “raghead” comment aimed at South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley was unfair, uncalled for and unreasonable, Sikh advocacy groups said. “It is a very unfortunate situation,” said Gurinder Singh Mann, director of the Center for Sikh and […]

Pope Calls for International Attention to Middle East

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI called for an “urgent international effort” to bring peace to the Middle East, especially for the region’s dwindling Christian population, in a Mass on Sunday (June 6) at the end of a three-day visit […]

Christians Discuss ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ Evangelism

posted by mconsoli

EDINBURGH, Scotland (RNS/ENInews) “Good evangelism” and “bad evangelism” came under discussion when a diverse group of Christians met to mark the 100th anniversary of the historic 1910 Edinburgh Missionary Conference. Antonios Kireopoulos, the associate general secretary for interfaith relations for […]

Calif. High School Ends ‘Beat the Jew’ Game

posted by mconsoli

LOS ANGELES – Seven seniors at a Southern California high school were facing disciplinary action for participating in a game called “Beat the Jew” in which losers were subjected to “incineration” or “enslavement,” a school administrator said Friday. The game […]

Pope Says Bishop’s Murder Won’t `Darken’ Dialogue with Muslims

posted by mconsoli

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI told reporters en route to Cyprus on Friday (June 4) that the murder of an Italian-born bishop in Turkey would not “darken” Catholic dialogue with Muslims. Bishop Luigi Padovese, the bishop of Anatolia and […]

Head of Turkish Bishops Conference Stabbed to Death

posted by mconsoli

Head of Turkish bishops conference stabbed to death GENEVA (RNS/ENInews) The Italian-born president of the Catholic bishops’ conference in Turkey, Bishop Luigi Padovese, was found stabbed to death in the southern Turkish city of Iskenderun on Thursday (June 3). “This […]

Episcopal Head Lashes Out at Anglican ‘Colonial’ Uniformity

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has forcefully defended her church’s embrace of gays and lesbians, and firmly rejected efforts to centralize power or police uniformity in the Anglican Communion. Anglicans should be led by local communities rather than […]

At Least 1 million Evangelicals March in Brazil

posted by mconsoli

SAO PAULO – At least 1 million evangelical Christians rallied in Sao Paulo on Thursday for the annual “March for Jesus,” an event that unites the faithful from hundreds of Protestant churches in the world’s largest Roman Catholic country. Now […]

‘Father Oprah’ Ordained an Episcopal Priest in Miami

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The Rev. Alberto Cutie, the Miami media star who converted from Catholicism to the Episcopal Church last year after his romantic life became public, has been formally accepted as an Episcopal priest. Cutie, 41, pledged to conform to the […]

Muslims Push White House on Charitable Giving Rules

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) A Muslim legal advocacy group urged Muslims to flood the White House with phone calls on Friday (June 4) to complain about federal laws they say make it impossible for Muslims to contribute to charities without fear of being […]

Disgraced Evangelist Ted Haggard and Wife to Start New Church

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Former Colorado megachurch pastor Ted Haggard, who fell from grace in 2006 after a gay sex-and-drug scandal, has announced plans to start a new church with his wife Gayle. The couple, who incorporated St. James Church in late April, […]

Muslims, Churches Blast Israel for Deaths in Raid on Flotilla

posted by nsymmonds

JERUSALEM (RNS) Tens of thousands of Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa on Tuesday (June 1) continued demonstrations against Israel’s deadly interception of a flotilla of ships trying to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza. Nine pro-Palestinian […]

U.S., Canadian Archbishops to Lead Probe of Irish Church Abuse

posted by nsymmonds

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI has tapped four top U.S. and Canadian bishops to help lead a high-profile inquiry into child sex abuse in the Irish Catholic Church. The announcement comes as the Vatican appears to be taking a […]

Cash-Strapped National Cathedral Mulls Selling Treasures

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) Facing a reduced budget and a third round of layoffs, officials at Washington National Cathedral are considering disposing of priceless treasures — including a trove of rare books — that are no longer considered part of its central […]

German Catholics Cope with Abuse Crisis

posted by aroan

In video interviews, a Wall Street Journal reporter explores how German Catholics are struggling to separate their faith from the institution that they believe has mishandled the crisis.Video courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.

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