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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 […]

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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.” […]

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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 […]

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Mormon-Affiliated University Lifts YouTube Ban

posted by akornfeld

Provo, Utah – Brigham Young University, the Mormon church school where students agree to live a chaste and virtuous life, has lifted its almost three-year policy of blocking access to YouTube. Administrators lifted the ban on Friday, citing an increasing […]

Trial Opens in Infant’s Faith-Healing Death

posted by akornfeld

OREGON CITY, Ore. — Prosecution and defense attorneys differed sharply Monday (June 29) on what led to the death of 15-month-old Ava Worthington. Ava, malnourished and in obvious distress, “died a needless death” because her parents, Raylene and Carl Worthington, […]

Pastor Quits Riverside Church After Only Two Months

posted by akornfeld

The Rev. Brad Braxton, senior minister of New York City’s famed Riverside Church, has resigned just two months after his installation after a nasty fight with his new flock landed the church in court. Braxton’s abrupt departure comes amidst congregational […]

Lawyer Disbarred Over Missing Holocaust Victim Funds

posted by akornfeld

Trenton, N.J. – Only a few years ago, Edward Fagan was a world-renowned lawyer for the underdog, brash and audacious enough to take on Swiss banks and even whole countries to win judgments for Holocaust survivors and victims of South […]

Christian Publisher Still Plans Kate Gosselin Book

posted by akornfeld

Should a Christian publisher still release a $30 book from one of the namesake stars of “Jon & Kate Plus 8″ promising “an inside look at one of America’s most close-knit families” after the couple has filed for divorce amid […]

No Longer Episcopalians, Anglicans Launch Own Church

posted by akornfeld

Plano, Texas — Conservative Anglicans disenchanted with the liberal drift in their U.S. and Canadian churches say they are confident that a new church body launched this week will one day gain a seat in the worldwide Anglican Communion. The […]

‘Stoning’ Film Sends Message About Islam, But Which Message?

posted by akornfeld

While chaotic post-election demonstrations threaten to tarnish the image of Iran and its hard-line Islamic government, Hollywood filmmakers are releasing a drama they hope will send an opposite message about Islam itself. Centered around the stoning of a woman unjustly […]

Southern Baptists Meet to Combat Membership Malaise

posted by akornfeld

Southern Baptists opened their annual meeting Tuesday (June 23) with calls to turn around plummeting baptism rates, even as researchers warned that the nation’s largest Protestant body could lose half its size by mid-century. “I really do believe that we […]

Catholic Nun, Evangelical to Lead Presbyterian Seminaries

posted by akornfeld

Two seminaries in the Presbyterian Church (USA) have branched out to find new leaders, with one appointing a Catholic nun as dean and the other naming a prominent evangelical as president. When Sister Elizabeth Liebert takes over as dean of […]

Pastor: Kan. Church Begins Healing After Shooting

posted by akornfeld

Wichita, Kan. – The church where late-term abortion provider George Tiller was killed is bringing in counselors to help members and has received supportive messages from around the world, the senior pastor said. The Rev. Lowell Michelson of Reformation Lutheran […]

Obama, Once Fearful of Muslim Ties, Now Embraces Them

posted by akornfeld

Washington — Dogged by persistent but untrue rumors that he was a closet Muslim, Barack Obama’s presidential campaign carefully sidestepped questions about his Muslim ancestry and asked two Muslim women in headscarves to take seats away from the cameras. But […]

Gay Bishop Says Faith Groups Key to N.H. Gay Marriage Vote

posted by akornfeld

New Hampshire became the sixth state to legalize gay marriage on Wednesday (June 3) in part because faith leaders testified that the measure would not impinge on religious rights, according to V. Gene Robinson, the state’s openly gay Episcopal bishop. […]

Church-Going ‘Martyr’ Changes Dynamics of Abortion Debate

posted by akornfeld

Dr. George Tiller’s murder on Sunday (May 31) morning in the lobby of his Lutheran church counters the secular image of a late-term abortion provider, pinning him more as a churchgoing “martyr” than a godless murderer. Shot and killed while […]

RCA to Consider Belhar Confession, More Talk on Gay Issues

posted by akornfeld

Holland, Mich. – For the first time in 390 years, the Reformed Church in America has a confession to make. The Belhar Confession, a declaration of human unity, justice and reconciliation that was drafted in 1982 by Reformed churches in […]

Religious Academics Award Religion Reporters

posted by akornfeld

Religion writers for The New York Times and the Waterbury (Conn.) Republican-American are among the top winners of the American Academy of Religion’s prizes for in-depth religion reporting. Laurie Goodstein of the Times won the 2009 contest for journalists at […]

Hispanic Theologian Chosen for Vatican Ambassador

posted by akornfeld

A Hispanic Roman Catholic theologian who was an adviser to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign will be nominated to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, the White House announced Wednesday. Miguel H. Diaz, 45, an associate professor of […]

Fla.’s ‘Father Oprah’ Joins Episcopal Church

posted by akornfeld

Miami – A popular Miami priest and media personality known as “Father Oprah” has left the Catholic Church and joined the Episcopal Church after he was photographed cavorting on the beach with his girlfriend. The Rev. Alberto Cutie (KOO’-tee-ay) was […]

For Muslims, A Final Act of Dignity from the Living for the Dead

posted by akornfeld

Portland, Ore. – Judy Nikukar was in her 40s and had been a Muslim for 15 years before someone invited her to help wash a body before burial. Nikukar considered whether she wanted to do it. She had seen only […]

Christianity Today to Close Four Publications, Lay Off 31

posted by akornfeld

Publishing powerhouse Christianity Today International, citing hard times in its industry, is shutting down four publications and laying off 31 workers. According to a plan announced Friday (May 22), two magazines will fold: Today’s Christian Woman and the Campus Life […]

Dalai Lama Helps Save Fla. University

posted by akornfeld

Miami — Florida International University Tuesday accepted a gift from the Dalai Lama to save its Religious Studies Department scheduled to close due to budget cuts. The Miami Herald reported the $100,000 gift alone will not rescue the department, the […]

Vatican Raises Retirement Age to Make Ends Meet

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – In a sign the credit crunch is sparing no one, the Vatican is set to raise its staff retirement age by two years to help make ends meet. From January 1, 2010, newly hired lay staff will […]

Experts Say Case of Missing Teen Reflects Larger Problem

posted by akornfeld

As authorities search for a missing 13-year-old cancer patient whose mother shunned chemotherapy, an expert on faith healing said the case demonstrates just how these cases can get out of hand — and the need to prevent them in the […]

Victims’ Group Urges Church Action After Irish Abuse Report

posted by akornfeld

U.S. victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy say the Vatican should publicly rebuke the religious order that fought to keep abusers’ names out of a damning report that details thousands of crimes against minors in Ireland. The 2,600-page report, […]

Synagogues Assessing Security After Foiled N.Y. Plot

posted by akornfeld

Synagogues in New York and throughout the country were unaware of a plot to bomb two temples in New York City until it was foiled late Wednesday (May 20). New York City police arrested four men who allegedly believed they […]

Muslims Struggle To Erect Minarets Next To Steeples

posted by akornfeld

Montreuil, France — The dusty patch of weeds and litter may not look like much now, but the site nonetheless carries the hopes and a sense of sweet victory for Muslims in this hardscrabble Paris suburb. The short story of […]

Gallup: Only Churchgoers Remain Reliably Republican

posted by akornfeld

Washington – A new Gallup Poll shows that Republicans have lost support across every major demographic group with one exception: regular churchgoers. Since the beginning of the Bush administration in 2001, the GOP has lost self-identified Republicans across the board. […]

Pentagon Reports No Longer Quote Bible

posted by akornfeld

Washington – The Pentagon said Monday it no longer includes a Bible quote on the cover page of daily intelligence briefings it sends to the White House as was practice during the Bush administration. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said he […]

Noted Catholic Theologian Dies at 68

posted by akornfeld

Tallahassee, Fla. – Monsignor William A. Kerr, a leading human rights figure whom serial killer Ted Bundy sought out to be his spiritual counselor on death row, died Wednesday. He was 68. Kerr was hospitalized May 3 after suffering a […]

Debate Brews Over Proposed Hebrew Charter School

posted by akornfeld

East Brunswick, N.J. – A proposed Hebrew charter school has ignited a debate over the separation of church and state. The school, which would require Hebrew classes, has divided the local Jewish community and raised arguments about whether the school […]

Pope Urges Peace Between Muslims, Christians in Nazareth

posted by akornfeld

Nazareth, Israel — Pope Benedict XVI spent the last full day of his week-long pilgrimage on Wednesday (May 14) urging reconciliation in the town where Jesus spent his youth but which is now beset by uneasy relations between Christians and […]

Priest Apologizes to Molestation Victims

posted by akornfeld

SEATTLE – Father Patrick O’Donnell said in King County Superior Court he is sorry he molested at least 30 boys while part of the Seattle Catholic Archdiocese. While testifying Monday in court, the 66-year-old priest offered an apology to the […]

Religious People Make Better Citizens, Study Says

posted by akornfeld

First, the silver lining: people of faith are better citizens and better neighbors, and America is “amazingly” religious compared to other countries, says Harvard University professor Robert Putnam. Now, the cloud: young Americans are “vastly more secular” than their older […]

Pope, in Bethlehem, Sides with Palestinian Statehood

posted by akornfeld

Bethlehem, West Bank – Standing in the city of Jesus’ birth that’s now under Palestinian control, Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday (May 13) forcefully endorsed the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state. “Mr. President, the Holy See supports the right […]

For Cizik, It’s Suddenly A Lot Easier Being Green

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Richard Cizik, who resigned in December under pressure from the National Association of Evangelicals, has long been criticized by fellow evangelicals for being a little too green. Emerging from a self-imposed media blackout, Cizik is back, and he’s […]

Church Officials Say Alberto Cutie’s Future Is Up to Him

posted by akornfeld

Caught by paparazzi in the tender embrace of a woman on a Florida beach — is this how celebrity Catholic priest Alberto Cutie’s meteoric religious and multimedia career crashes down to earth? Or does he emerge from a period of […]

National Day of Prayer Gets a Political Makeover

posted by akornfeld

Washington — Evangelical leaders gathered for the annual observance of the National Day of Prayer on Thursday (May 7) prayed for President Obama but criticized his decisions to not mark the day with a White House event or send a […]

Vatican’s P.R. strategy against `Angels and Demons’ is to not have one

posted by akornfeld

Los Angeles — Controversy, if nothing else, sells newspapers and movie tickets. It worked with Ron Howard’s first film adaptation of a Dan Brown novel, 2006’s “The Da Vinci Code,” and Hollywood is hoping it will work again for their […]

Southern Baptists’ Top Ethicist Calls Waterboarding ‘Torture’

posted by akornfeld

Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land, a leading Christian conservative who helped advance the Bush administration’s agenda on a range of social issues, said Monday (May 4) that the formerly sanctioned practice of waterboarding of suspected terrorists is torture and “violates […]

New Accusations Surface Against U.S. Military Proselytizing

posted by akornfeld

A watchdog group that monitors inappropriate proselytizing in the military has renewed calls for a Pentagon probe after a recent Al Jazeera English news segment showed U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan preparing to distribute Bibles printed in the Pashto and Dari […]

Dalai Lama Opens New Center at MIT

posted by akornfeld

Cambridge, Mass. — On the campus of the country’s premier scientific university, the world’s best-known Buddhist leader on Thursday (April 30) called on educators to teach ethics and compassion without a basis in religious belief. Hundreds gathered at the Massachusetts […]

Can Common Communion Chalice Transmit Swine Flu?

posted by akornfeld

Religious groups across the country are urging houses of worship to take special precautions this weekend, including changing sacred practices, as the swine flu outbreak threatens to grow into a global pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported […]

Conservatives Nervous as Hate Crimes Bill Advances

posted by akornfeld

WASHINGTON — As the House took up a hate crimes bill that would add sexual orientation to a list of federally protected classes, Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition stood outside the Capitol and warned of dire consequences for […]

Africa’s ‘Mormon Superstar’ Is First Black African LDS General Authority

posted by akornfeld

Joseph Sitati grew up as a Quaker in Nairobi, Kenya, but felt no great affection for the faith. Its sermons were too political, he felt, leaving him thirsty for spiritual satisfaction. When Sitati attended his first Mormon service in 1985, […]

Catholic Coalition Unveils Environmental ‘Covenant’

posted by akornfeld

On the eve of Earth Day, a coalition of Catholic groups launched a broad initiative Tuesday (April 21) to encourage Catholic churches, institutions and families to combat climate change and advocate for the poor in the debate over the environment. […]

Reform Seminary May Cut Two of Three U.S. Campuses

posted by akornfeld

The Reform Jewish movement’s central seminary is considering closing two of its three U.S. campuses amid what the school’s president calls “the most challenging financial position (the school) has faced in its history.” Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, with […]

Interview with a Physicist Theologian

posted by akornfeld

Christian thinkers have long employed insights from sociology, literature, and other fields to augment their ideas of how God works in the world. Yet despite the world-changing insights of science, very few theologians have drawn on physics, biology or geology […]

N.Y. Gay Marriage Bill Faces Tough Political Road

posted by akornfeld

Syracuse, N.Y. – Despite support from all statewide elected leaders, prospects for a same-sex marriage bill passing the state Legislature this year appear shaky at best. Political observers say its fate will hinge on the votes of a handful of […]

Vatican Decries Reaction to Pope’s Condom Remarks

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – Critics of the Catholic Church’s social teachings are trying to intimidate Pope Benedict XVI into silence, the Vatican charged Friday in responding to attacks on the pontiff’s remarks about AIDS and condom use. In a strongly worded […]

Pope Thanks N.M. Governor for Death Penalty Repeal

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson met Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on Wednesday (Apr. 15), hours before a Catholic group lit up Rome’s Coliseum to honor New Mexico’s recent abolition of the death penalty. Richardson, a […]

Study: Religious Donors Don’t Plan to Cut Back

posted by akornfeld

Despite the economic downturn, more than half of actively religious donors plan to give the same or more to charitable causes in 2009 as they did last year, a new survey shows. Cygnus Applied Research, a Chicago-based international research firm, […]

In an Online World, All (Church) Politics Is Global

posted by akornfeld

Internet columns and chain e-mails question the candidate’s Christian bona fides. Old sermons are dredged up and dissected. Supporters, meanwhile, post documents online to combat perceived smears. In short: a campaign for high office delivers some low blows. The candidate […]

NYC’s New Archbishop Aims to Renew Church

posted by akornfeld

New York – Archbishop Timothy Dolan was installed Wednesday as the leader of Roman Catholic New York, taking the most prominent American pulpit in the church during an elaborate ceremony that drew thousands of parishioners and civic leaders to St. […]

Conservatives Decry Homeland Security ‘Extremism’ Report

posted by akornfeld

Conservative Christian groups blasted a new report from the Department of Homeland Security on “rightwing extremism,” calling it an example of “guilt by association” for linking anti-abortion activists with hate groups. The 10-page “assessment” from the department stresses that the […]

Vatican Launches Second Probe of U.S. Nuns

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City — The Vatican plans to investigate leaders of women’s religious congregations in the U.S. to ensure their fidelity to Catholic teaching on controversial questions of ecumenism, homosexuality and an all-male priesthood. Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Vatican’s […]

Ceremonies for New NY Archbishop Begin Tuesday

posted by akornfeld

New York – The installation of New York Archbishop-designate Timothy Dolan is stretching over two days in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, in services before thousands of well-wishers ranging from his elementary school teacher to the Vatican’s U.S. ambassador. Dolan, 59, the […]

Sikhs Ask to Serve in Army Despite Rules on Attire

posted by akornfeld

Arlington, Va. – Two Sikh men say they want to report for active duty in July even as they refuse to comply with the Army’s demands to cut their unshorn beards and hair and remove their turbans. “I am willing […]

Commission: Cuba Withholds Visas from Religious Freedom Delegation

posted by akornfeld

Washington – The same day President Obama lifted some U.S. travel and monetary restrictions against Cuba, a federal religious freedom panel said Havana is withholding visas ahead of a scheduled visit to the island nation. Members of the U.S. Commission […]

Manischewitz: The Family Behind the Matzo

posted by akornfeld

New York — For many Jews, the thought of Passover conjures up images of families feasting on matzo, kosher wine and for a few brave souls perhaps, Gefilte fish. Chances are, the name on the packaging is always the same: […]

Two Conservative Methodist Groups Name New Leaders

posted by akornfeld

Two conservative groups that are active in the United Methodist Church have announced leadership shifts, with the Rev. James Heidinger retiring from Kentucky-based Good News, and Mark Tooley moving up to president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy in […]

Vermont Legalizes Gay Marriage with Veto Override

posted by akornfeld

Montpelier, Vt. – Vermont on Tuesday became the fourth state to legalize gay marriage – and the first to do so with a legislature’s vote. The House recorded a dramatic 100-49 vote, the minimum needed, to override Gov. Jim Douglas’ […]

Atheists’ ‘De-Baptism’ Forms Snapped Up in Britain

posted by akornfeld

London — A secular organization in Britain that backs an atheist ad campaign on London’s buses is now producing “certificates of de-baptism” for people wishing to renounce their Christian faith — and claims it is getting thousands of takers. The […]

Priest Who Professed Islam Defrocked by Episcopal Church

posted by akornfeld

An Episcopal priest who professed two years ago that she was also a practicing Muslim has been defrocked by the Episcopal Church. Rhode Island Bishop Geralyn Wolf informed Ann Holmes Redding, who lives in Seattle, of the decision on Wednesday […]

Benedict Prays for John Paul’s Beatification

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – Pope Benedict XVI marked the fourth anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II with a memorial Mass on Thursday and new prayers for the Polish pontiff’s beatification. Benedict presided over an evening Mass at St. […]

Eight Nations Singled Out for Religious Freedom Violations

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Just before the end of the Bush administration last January, the U.S. State Department redesignated eight nations as “countries of particular concern” because of their religious freedom violations. The independent U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom learned of […]

Md. Mom’s Starvation Plea Pegged to Resurrection

posted by akornfeld

Baltimore – Prosecutors agreed to some unusual terms to win a guilty plea from a former religious cult member charged with starving her 1-year-old son to death: If the child is resurrected, her plea will be withdrawn. Ria Ramkissoon, 22, […]

Jews Angry After Second Bishop Slams Holocaust ‘Propaganda’

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – Jewish groups are outraged again after a Catholic archbishop in Brazil downplayed Jewish suffering in the Holocaust, which he said had been exaggerated by Jewish “propaganda.” “The Jews call themselves the main victims of the Holocaust. But […]

Vermont Moves to Legalize Gay Marriage

posted by akornfeld

The Vermont state Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill Monday (March 23) to allow same-sex marriage, putting the state one step closer to becoming the first to approve same-sex marriage by legislative means. The Democratic-dominated state Senate voted 26 to 4 […]

French Cardinals Blast Holocaust Denial

posted by akornfeld

New York — In the wake of an embarrassing Vatican response to a Holocaust-denying bishop, French Catholic cardinals on Monday (March 23) publicly and unambiguously expressed their opposition to Holocaust denial. “Let this be another opportunity to recall — whether […]

Democrats Stake a Claim on Pat Robertson’s Campus

posted by akornfeld

Virginia Beach, Va. — It’s not as daring as, say, Pat Robertson’s Republican run for the White House in 1988. But there’s no denying that starting a Democratic student group at Robertson’s Regent University seems a bit audacious. “Here, it […]

Ind. Allows References to God on License Plates

posted by akornfeld

Indiana officials have dropped a provision that bans references to religions or deities on personalized license plates after a woman sued when her “BE GODS” personalized license plate was not renewed. “Christians shouldn’t be discriminated against for expressing their beliefs,” […]

Episcopal Bishops Say ‘Preoccupied’ Church Missed Crisis

posted by akornfeld

The Episcopal Church’s bishops said Wednesday (March 18) that they have been too “preoccupied” with internal disputes to pay adequate attention to suffering caused by the deepening economic recession. Gathered in Hendersonville, N.C., March 13-18, for their annual spring retreat, […]

Church Faces Challenges in Africa Amid Pope Visit

posted by akornfeld

Luanda, Angola – In Africa, some Roman Catholic priests have children and nuns counsel patients to use condoms against the scourge of AIDS. Faithful consult medicine men even though the church condemns that as witchcraft. As Pope Benedict XVI makes […]

Appeals Court Upholds Texas Moment of Silence Law

posted by akornfeld

A federal appeals court on Monday (March 16) upheld a Texas law that requires public school students to observe a daily minute of silence following the Pledge of Allegiance. “The statute is facially neutral between religious and nonreligious activities that […]

For Spring Breakers, No Signs of Katrina Fatigue

posted by akornfeld

New Orleans — The staccato banging of dozens of hammers dispelled the morning quiet as college students, lawyers and nurses from Massachusetts clambered about four new houses rapidly taking shape at the hands of Habitat for Humanity and St. Charles […]

For the Vatican, It’s Been Harder to Stay on Message

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City — For the past two months, the Catholic Church has been overcome by one fairly straightforward question: Why didn’t the pope know that the ultra-traditionalist bishop he welcomed back into the church was a fervent and public Holocaust-denier? […]

One Priest, Two Faiths, and Lots of Questions

posted by akornfeld

Friday afternoons find the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding at the Al-Islam Center in Seattle, reciting Muslim prayers. Come Sunday, she heads about two miles south to kneel in the pews of St. Clement’s of Rome Episcopal Church. “My experience and […]

US Catholics Protest ‘Maltreatment’

posted by akornfeld

Hartford, Connecticut – Thousands of Roman Catholics descended on the Connecticut statehouse Wednesday, as simmering resentment over bills they consider anti-Catholic reached a boiling point with a recent legislative attempt to give parishioners more say over parish financing. Some of […]

MIT to Launch Dalai Lama Spiritual Center

posted by akornfeld

Boston – A new think tank at one of the nation’s leading universities for scientific research will soon bring Buddhist sensibilities to bear on a quest to explore “the ethical and humane dimensions of life.” The Dalai Lama Center for […]

Shootings Prompt Uneasy Talks About Church Security

posted by akornfeld

One day after Sunday’s (March 8) church shooting that left an Illinois pastor dead, church security consultant Marc Brooks fielded calls from eight congregations eager to get firearms into the hands of worship staff or volunteers. Those churches will first […]

Pope to Visit Muslim, Jewish Sites in Mideast Trip

posted by akornfeld

Jerusalem – Pope Benedict XVI will visit Jerusalem’s Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock during his upcoming Mideast trip in a show of solidarity with Jews and Muslims, the papal envoy in Jerusalem said Tuesday. Benedict announced this […]

Dalai Lama: Tibet in ‘Constant Fear’ Under China

posted by akornfeld

Dharmsala, India – China has overseen a “brutal crackdown” in Tibet since protests shook the Himalayan region last year, part of decades of Chinese oppression that have driven Tibetan culture to the verge of extinction, the Dalai Lama said Tuesday. […]

In Mortgage Meltdown, a Sticky Question of Ethics

posted by akornfeld

A few years ago, the question was What Would Jesus Do? Later it became What Would Jesus Drive? Now, with the economy in freefall because of a collapse in home values, the question seems to be: Whom Would Jesus Bailout? […]

Paul and Ringo to Reunite to Promote Meditation

posted by akornfeld

New York – More than 40 years after they traveled to India to study transcendental meditation, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr will reunite for the cause. The only two surviving Beatles, who rarely appear in public together, will perform at […]

Gay Activists March Ahead of California Showdown

posted by akornfeld

San Francisco – Advocates on both sides of the gay marriage issue demonstrated outside California’s highest court Thursday before justices heard arguments on lawsuits seeking to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex nuptials. Supporters of gay marriage carried rainbow flags […]

Cardinal Says Atheist’s Theories ‘Absurd’

posted by akornfeld

Rome – The Vatican sought Tuesday to show that it isn’t opposed to science and evolutionary theory, hosting a conference on Charles Darwin and trying to debunk the idea that it embraces creationism or intelligent design. Some of the world’s […]

Lent 2.0: No Facebook, No Twitter

posted by akornfeld

Most days you can find college sophomore Adan Farrah on his laptop checking in with his classmates, looking at photos and updating his personal page on Facebook. For the 19-year-old and many of his friends, the social networking site is […]

Study Finds U.S. Muslims Younger, Better Educated Than Peers

posted by akornfeld

Washington — Muslims in America attend worship services weekly just as much as Protestant Americans. Among the nation’s faith groups, they are the most racially diverse. And they’re younger: more than a third of Muslim adults — 36 percent — […]

Group Probed for Helping People Die Defends Work

posted by akornfeld

Atlanta – As authorities try to determine how many deaths nationwide may be linked to an alleged assisted suicide ring, members of the group known as the Final Exit Network are defending a mission they call “self-deliverance.” The network’s president, […]

Report: Bishop Who Had Denied Holocaust Apologizes

posted by akornfeld

Rome – A British bishop whose denial of the Holocaust embroiled Pope Benedict XVI in controversy has apologized for his remarks, a Catholic news agency said Thursday. Bishop Richard Williamson, with the conservative Society of St. Pius X, had faced […]

House Members Call for Anti-Abortion Steps in Spending Bill

posted by akornfeld

More than 180 House members sent a letter to House Democratic leaders on Wednesday (Feb. 25), calling for upcoming spending bills to maintain longstanding anti-abortion provisions. “These measures … reflect the moral concerns of many Americans who do not wish […]

Study: Compared to Christians, Fewer Jews ‘Switch’ Faiths

posted by akornfeld

Jews are less likely than Catholics or Protestants to change faiths, though religious switching nationwide has increased since 1965, according to a study released this week by the American Jewish Committee. Most who leave Judaism become unaffiliated, rather than converting […]

Tibetans Mark Their New Year with Mourning Period

posted by akornfeld

Beijing – Trading fireworks for somber prayer, Tibetans marked Wednesday’s arrival of their new year with mourning as Chinese authorities sealed off Tibet and Tibetan regions in western China to foreigners. An unofficial Tibetan boycott of festivities was in memory […]

Supreme Court Rules Against Religious Monument

posted by akornfeld

Washington – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday (Feb. 25) that a city park in Utah does not have to include a monument of a small religious sect even though it already features a Ten Commandments monument. Summum, a Salt […]

China’s Tibetan Areas Not Celebrating the New Year

posted by akornfeld

Xiahe, China – Only a handful of pilgrims gathered here last weekend at the historic Labrang monastery, normally bustling before the Tibetan New Year. “There was a war in Lhasa this year. Lots of Tibetans were killed,” one resident murmured, […]

Report Urges Boost for US Family Planning Program

posted by akornfeld

New York – Publicly funded family planning prevents nearly 2 million unintended pregnancies and more than 800,000 abortions in the United States each year, saving billions of dollars, according to new research intended to counter conservative objections to expanding the […]

Supreme Court to Consider Case of Cross Monument in Mohave Desert

posted by akornfeld

The Supreme Court decided Monday (Feb. 23) to consider a case about a controversial eight-foot cross that was erected as a war memorial on federal property in California. The legal battle surrounding the memorial in the Mohave National Preserve in […]

Reports: Argentina to Expel Holocaust-Denying Bishop

posted by akornfeld

Argentina is expelling a Holocaust-denying bishop whose recent readmission to the Catholic Church prompted anger and outrage from Jewish groups, according to international reports. Bishop Richard Williamson, whose excommunication was lifted by the Vatican in January, will be forced to […]

Groups Try to Strip Atheist Provision from Ark. Constitution

posted by akornfeld

A religious liberty watchdog group has joined a campaign to strip the Arkansas Constitution of a provision that prohibits atheists from holding office and testifying in court. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty sent a letter Tuesday (Feb.17) to the […]

Lutherans Move to Allow Gay Clergy — Sort of

posted by akornfeld

A blue-ribbon panel recommended on Thursday (Feb. 19) that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lift its ban on partnered gay and lesbian clergy, but only after the church agrees in principle on gay relationships and respecting the consciences of […]

Democrats Hint at Piecemeal Reversal of Bush Abortion Policies

posted by akornfeld

Washington – When Barack Obama was campaigning for president, he promised to enact legislation to prohibit states from limiting the right to abortion. Now that Obama is in the White House and solid Democratic majorities are ensconced in Congress, opponents […]

Congregations to Mark Evolution Weekend

posted by akornfeld

By KARIN HAMILTON More than 1,000 congregations are participating in the fourth annual Evolution Weekend, which is celebrating the integration of faith and science as the world marks the 200th birthday of the father of evolution, Charles Darwin. Many churches […]

Pope Condemns Holocaust Denial as ‘Unacceptable’

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – In his first meeting with Jewish leaders since his controversial readmission of a Holocaust-denying bishop, Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday (Feb. 12) condemned the “denial or minimization” of the Holocaust as “intolerable and altogether unacceptable.” Benedict also […]

Hymn Endures as Unofficial ‘Black National Anthem’

posted by akornfeld

When the Rev. Joseph Lowery rose to offer the closing prayer at President Obama’s swearing-in ceremony, he knew which hymn he would borrow to start his prayer. “God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has […]

Rare Trove of Hebrew Books Displayed in NYC

posted by akornfeld

New York – A rare trove of 11,000 Hebrew books and manuscripts went on display at Sotheby’s this week as the auction house seeks to find a buyer for what is considered the greatest collection of Judaica in private hands. […]

Presbyterians to Study Civil Unions

posted by akornfeld

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has tapped a 13-member committee to investigate the place same-sex unions should have in Christianity and wider society and issue a report in 2010. The Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, who is currently serving a two-year term as […]

Pope’s Call for Bishop to Retract Holocaust Claim Welcomed

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City/Berlin/Jerusalem – The Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem welcomed Thursday the pope’s decision to demand that Bishop Richard Williamson publicly and unambiguously recant his stance regarding the Holocaust. Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said the pope’s decision sends […]

Anglican Leaders Take Dim View of Rival U.S. Church

posted by akornfeld

Leaders of the Anglican Communion said Thursday (Feb. 5) that they, not dissident conservatives, will decide what role a newly formed traditionalist North American church will have in their worldwide fellowship. Concluding their weeklong meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, the Anglican […]

Successor Named to Marble Collegiate Pulpit

posted by akornfeld

New York’s venerable Marble Collegiate Church, founded nearly 400 years ago and made famous by its longtime leader, the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, named a new senior minister on Sunday (Feb 1). The Rev. Michael Brown, a United Methodist pastor […]

Habitat for Humanity Founder Millard Fuller Dies at 74

posted by akornfeld

Washington — Millard Fuller, the man who founded Habitat for Humanity and whose name was synonymous with volunteer faith-based efforts to build houses for the poor, died suddenly Tuesday (Feb. 3) after a brief illness. Fuller, 74, had suffered from […]

U.S. Bishops Blast Holocaust-Denying Bishop

posted by akornfeld

Washington – The nation’s top Catholic archbishop on Tuesday (Feb. 2) condemned the remarks of a Holocaust-denying English bishop as “deeply offensive and utterly false,” and sought to reaffirm the church’s bonds with the Jewish community. “No Catholic, whether layperson, […]

Jewish Coalition Calls for Immigration Reform

posted by akornfeld

Jewish groups are asking the Obama administration to make immigration reform a priority for the new president’s first 100 days, by suspending raids on businesses and private homes and developing a path to citizenship for undocumented families. Progress by Pesach, […]

Anglicans Set to Consider Rival North American Church

posted by akornfeld

Conservative Anglicans say they do not expect their new North American church to receive official approval from Anglican archbishops who will convene next week (Feb. 1-5) in Alexandria, Egypt. “We do expect that our situation will be discussed,” said the […]

Obama Taps Campaign Aide to Head Religious Office

posted by akornfeld

Washington – President Barack Obama has chosen Joshua DuBois to lead his White House-based effort to steer federal social service dollars to religious charities and get them more involved in government anti-poverty efforts. DuBois, a political strategist who was religious […]

Pope’s Current Controversy Obscured by Longer Vision

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – Ever since Pope Benedict XVI allowed schismatic bishops back into the Catholic fold last week, his decision has been met with abundant expressions of outrage and dismay, from both inside and outside the church. Yet the controversy […]

Russian Orthodox Church Electing New Head

posted by akornfeld

Moscow – Hundreds of Russian Orthodox Church electors convened Tuesday in Moscow for the first election of a patriarch since the fall of the officially atheist Soviet Union. The 711 electors, which include prominent businessmen and political figures as well […]

Study: Americans More Loyal to Charmin or Colgate Than Church

posted by akornfeld

Americans are more loyal to their toothpaste or toilet paper than to their religious denomination, making consumers more choosy about Charmin or Colgate than they are about church, according to a new survey. According to a Phoenix-based research firm, 16 […]

In Troubled Times, Leaders Turn to St. Paul

posted by akornfeld

Washington – As President Obama addressed a nation suffering from economic crisis and waging two foreign wars on Tuesday (Jan. 20), he turned to a familiar source of presidential oratory amid hardship: St. Paul. “We remain a young nation but […]

Thousands of Abortion Foes Rally in Washington

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Tens of thousands of abortion opponents rallied Thursday on the National Mall to mark the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade amid concerns they could face political setbacks under the new president. The rally and subsequent march to […]

Rabbi Under Fire for Attending Inaugural Prayer Service

posted by akornfeld

Washington – An Orthodox rabbi broke Jewish law by participating in an interfaith prayer service on Wednesday (Jan. 21) at Washington National Cathedral, according to the Rabbinical Council of America. Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, who leads Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in New […]

Bishops Send Public Policy Wish List to Obama

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Even before he stepped into the Oval Office on Tuesday (Jan. 20) as America’s 44th president, the nation’s Catholic bishops sent Barack Obama their public policy wish list, with a special emphasis on “the fundamental right to life […]

With Warren and Lowery, Obama Sends Signals About Religious Outreach

posted by akornfeld

Washington – When President Obama rose to speak between the prayers offered by evangelical megachurch pastor Rick Warren and civil rights veteran Joseph Lowery, he indicated — without ever saying a word — the breadth of the religious outreach ahead […]

Obama Refashions America’s Old-Time (Civil) Religion

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Seeking to revive a dispirited nation, President Obama on Tuesday (Jan. 20) told Americans to get religion — civil religion. “We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside […]

For Filmmaker Pelosi, Haggard Downfall Became Personal

posted by akornfeld

Los Angeles – Filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi never imagined that her 2007 documentary about evangelical America would give her a front row seat to the downfall of one of its biggest stars, megachurch pastor Ted Haggard. She also couldn’t have predicted […]

Vatican: Homosexual ‘Behavior’ in Seminaries Declines

posted by akornfeld

New York – A Vatican evaluation of U.S. Roman Catholic seminaries in response to the clergy sex abuse scandal concluded that administrators have largely been effective in rooting out “homosexual behavior” in the schools, although the agency said it persists. […]

US Races to Secure Truce Between Israel, Hamas

posted by akornfeld

Washington – The Bush administration is racing in its final moments to negotiate a deal with Israel that might allow the Jewish state to agree to a cease-fire with the militant Hamas movement and end its military operation in Gaza. […]

Italy Rabbis: Pope Canceling Interfaith Progress

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – Italy’s rabbis said Tuesday they were pulling out of the Italian Catholic Church’s annual celebration of Judaism, saying recent decisions by Pope Benedict XVI were negating 50 years of interfaith progress. The chief rabbi of Venice, Elia […]

Gospel Pioneer Willa Mae Dorsey Dies at 75

posted by akornfeld

Willa Mae Dorsey, whose gospel-singing career lasted 56 years, filled five albums, won her a Grammy nomination and introduced black gospel music to many white congregations, died Jan. 5 at age 75. Dorsey, who was born in Atlanta, lived in […]

Anti-Abortion Forces Target Planned Parenthood

posted by akornfeld

Undeterred by solid Democratic gains in November’s national elections, religious conservatives who oppose abortion are going on the offensive with a new weapon: a sick economy. In its largest-ever state-based initiative, the Family Research Council (FRC) is contacting every state […]

Catholic Theologian Richard John Neuhaus Dies at 72

posted by akornfeld

The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, an eminent Catholic intellectual who tutored President Bush in Catholic social teaching and helped build the political coalition that made his election possible, died Thursday (Jan. 8) at age 72. Neuhaus died soon after 10 […]

Sikh Sues IRS After Losing Job Over Religious Knife

posted by akornfeld

A Sikh woman sued the Internal Revenue Service this week, alleging that the IRS violated her religious freedom by prohibiting her from wearing a small ceremonial knife to her job as a revenue agent. The lawsuit, filed in Houston federal […]

Gaza Conflict Spreads to Europe with Jews Attacked

posted by akornfeld

Paris – Signs are mounting that the conflict in Gaza is starting to spill over into violence in Europe’s towns and cities, with assaults against Jews and arson attacks on Jewish congregations in France, Sweden and Britain. Assailants rammed a […]

Calif. Court Ruling May Impact Church Property Fights

posted by akornfeld

The Episcopal Church claimed a major legal victory Monday (Jan. 5) when California’s Supreme Court ruled that breakaway parishes do not have the right to keep church property if they secede from the national denomination. And while the decision technically […]

Vatican Bars U.S. Jesuit from Teaching About Christ

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – An American Catholic theologian censured by the Vatican for “grave doctrinal errors” has been told to cease teaching about the nature and identity of Jesus Christ. The Rev. Roger Haight, a Jesuit, has been asked by the […]

Church Leaders Appeal for Cease Fire in Gaza

posted by akornfeld

Washington – U.S. and global Christian leaders are calling on Israel to implement an immediate cease-fire in the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip, while U.S. Jewish groups have largely defended Israel’s military campaign. Gaza officials say nearly 400 Palestinians have been killed, […]

Icon Exhibit Hints at Thaw in U.S.-Russian Relations

posted by akornfeld

Clinton, Mass. – In this sleepy former mill town, where geopolitical tensions seem a world away, Americans are getting a fresh look at Russia through a lens that’s seldom made available on U.S. shores: the Russian sacred icon. Weekly attendance […]

Atheists Sue to Erase God from Swearing-in

posted by akornfeld

Washington – A group of atheists is suing to bar prayers and references to God during the swearing-in ceremony of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama. Michael Newdow, along with 17 other individuals and 10 groups representing atheists, named Supreme Court Chief […]

Poll: No Evidence That Recession Pulls People into Pews

posted by akornfeld

Washington – The economic recession has not led to an increase in attendance at U.S. houses of worship, according to Gallup pollsters. Despite anecdotal evidence cited in high-profile media outlets, Americans’ worship patterns have held steady in 2008, the Gallup […]

N.J. Says Complaint Over Civil Union Can Proceed

posted by akornfeld

Trenton, N.J. – New Jersey officials said Monday (Dec. 29) that a lesbian couple can move forward with their discrimination complaint against a Methodist group that refused to let them use an oceanfront pavilion for a civil union. Since the […]

Catholic School Teacher Fired for Marriage

posted by akornfeld

San Antonio – A teacher at a Roman Catholic school in San Antonio fired after she married a divorced man has filed a federal discrimination complaint. The principal of Central Catholic High School urged Marquis LaFortune, 25, a week before […]

Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson Discusses Rick Warren and Proposition 8

posted by akornfeld

Openly gay New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson has spent the last five years seeking reconciliation with those who saw his election as immoral, unbiblical or, as one Nigerian archbishop put it, a “satanic attack on God’s church.” Yet […]

Focus on the Family Pulls Interview Over Beck’s Mormon Faith

posted by akornfeld

Colorado-based Focus on the Family has pulled an online interview with conservative television host Glenn Beck after concerns were raised about Beck’s Mormon faith. Gary Schneeberger, vice president of media and public relations for Focus on the Family Action, said […]

Sense of Optimism Fills This Year’s Kwanzaa Celebrations

posted by akornfeld

On Nov. 4, the day America elected its first black president, Bryan resident Velma Spivey said she quietly went into her bedroom, recited a prayer and cried. “It was a spiritual feeling for me,” she said. This week, as she […]

The Gifts That Keep on Giving

posted by akornfeld

It’s been a rough year. With the economy in tatters, many of us are looking at Christmas and Hanukkah with new eyes and wondering whether the season will be more merry than maudlin. The Bible talks about the blessings that […]

Experts Say Media Spread Myth of Holiday Suicides

posted by akornfeld

Chances are that grown-ups know the truth about the holiday season’s biggest myth — the one concerning a certain elf, his generosity and his peculiar mode of travel. But there’s another big lie that’s almost as pervasive. No, Virginia, suicides […]

Gallup: Americans See Religious Influence Waning

posted by akornfeld

Two-thirds of Americans think religion is losing its influence on U.S. life, a sharp jump from just three years ago when Americans were nearly evenly split on the question, according to a new Gallup Poll. Sixty-seven percent of Americans think […]

Hanukkah Gets (Almost) Hip

posted by akornfeld

Last week, Jill Miller Zimon, a writer from Pepper Pike, Ohio, attended her daughter’s school band concert. Four bands and orchestras performed. “All four played `Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah,”‘ said Zimon, laughing. “I thought I was going to tear my hair […]

Texas Report: Abuse Widespread in Polygamist Sect

posted by akornfeld

San Antonio – Nearly two-thirds of the families living at a polygamist group’s ranch – targeted in a high-profile raid last spring – had children who were abused or neglected, Texas child welfare officials said in a report released Tuesday. […]

Good Heavens: Vatican Rehabilitating Galileo

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – Galileo Galilei is going from heretic to hero. The Vatican is recasting the most famous victim of its Inquisition as a man of faith, just in time for the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s telescope and the U.N.-designated […]

Architect of Religious Right Passes Away

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Paul Weyrich, a man who worked away from the limelight to galvanize conservative Christian political advocacy, died Thursday (Dec. 18). Weyrich, 66, co-founded the now-defunct Moral Majority with the late Jerry Falwell and served as the first president […]

Dalai Lama Talks of Complete Retirement

posted by akornfeld

Chennai, India – The Dalai Lama said Wednesday (December 17) the movement he has led for nearly five decades should now be guided by the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile. “I have grown old and already taken semi-retirement. It […]

New Health Regulation Permits ‘Conscience’ Exceptions

posted by akornfeld

Washington – A new federal regulation will allow healthcare workers to abstain from performing abortions or any service they object to on religious or moral grounds. The regulation, introduced Thursday (Dec. 18) by the Department of Health and Human Services, […]

Vatican Says No to Anti-Mosque Proposal in Italy

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – A top Vatican official said Thursday Muslims should be allowed to build new mosques in Italy, where the country’s interior minister, citing terrorism fears, is pushing to ban such initiatives. On Wednesday Interior Minister Roberto Maroni a […]

Conservative Anglicans Issue Constitution, Laws

posted by akornfeld

Conservative Anglican leaders unveiled on Wednesday the constitution and laws for a new organization intended to replace the Episcopal Church as the American arm of the Anglican Communion, which has 77 million members worldwide. The move is the most telling […]

Mumbai Jews on Edge After Attacks in India

posted by akornfeld

Mumbai, India – Mumbai’s tiny Jewish community feels itself under threat for the first time in hundreds of years in the wake of the deadly attacks by suspected Muslim militants that included a bloody two-day siege at an ultra-Orthodox Jewish […]

U.S.-Vatican Relationship to Shift Under Obama White House

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – In the 24 years since the U.S. and the Holy See established full diplomatic ties, relations have never been closer or warmer than during the administration of President George W. Bush. The two sides broke over the […]

Money, Good Deeds Memorialize Jewish Victims in Mumbai Attacks

posted by akornfeld

New York – Pledges of money and mitzvot (good deeds) have poured into a Web site set up by the New York-based Chabad-Lubavitch movement in the wake of the massacre in Mumbai, India, that claimed six victims at Mumbai’s Chabad […]

Atheists Want God Out of Ky. Homeland Security

posted by akornfeld

Frankfort, Ky. – A group of atheists filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to remove part of a state anti-terrorism law that requires Kentucky’s Office of Homeland Security to acknowledge it can’t keep the state safe without God’s help. American Atheists […]

Orphan of Slain Rabbi in Mumbai Heads to Israel

posted by akornfeld

Jerusalem – “Mommy, mommy, mommy!” wailed little Moshe at a tearful memorial for his parents in Mumbai on Monday, before a plane carrying him, his caretaker and the bodies of the six Jewish victims of the Chabad House hostage siege […]

NYC Cathedral Damaged in 2001 Fire Rededicated

posted by akornfeld

New York – African drums boomed and pipe organ music swelled as the Cathedral of St. John the Divine opened for worship Sunday after years of cleanup from a fire that struck the world’s largest Gothic cathedral in 2001. The […]

On World AIDS Day, Bush Says US Effort Successful

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Marking World AIDS Day, President George W. Bush said Monday that his presidential initiative on the deadly disease already has met its goal of treating 2 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. When the administration launched the President’s Emergency […]

Sainthood Probe Starts in US for ‘Rosary Priest’

posted by akornfeld

Baltimore – Recognized widely for his catchphrase – “the family that prays together stays together” – the late Rev. Patrick Peyton spread his message to millions by radio and later television, using Hollywood stars to emphasize prayer and moral values. […]

eHarmony Agrees to Set Up Same-Sex Matching Site

posted by akornfeld

The online match-making site eHarmony has agreed to launch a same-sex matching service next March after settling allegations that the company violated New Jersey’s anti-discrimination law by excluding gays and lesbians. A New Jersey gay man filed a complaint with […]

Archaeologists Sketch Out Herod’s Desert Palace

posted by akornfeld

Jerusalem – Archaeologists who have analyzed artifacts discovered at Herodium, an ancient Judean palace built by King Herod, are more convinced than ever that the famed monarch was buried high atop the complex outside Jerusalem. Herod, who served as the […]

Clergy Rally in D.C. for Homeowner Protections

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Clergy and congregants from more than 40 states gathered in front of the Department of Treasury on Tuesday (Nov. 18) to pray for Secretary Henry Paulson and members of Congress to put an end to the home foreclosure […]

Focus on the Family Cuts 200 Jobs

posted by akornfeld

The Colorado-based Focus on the Family will reduce its staff by about 200 positions, citing economic conditions. “There’s still a great demand for the resources we offer,” said Focus spokesman Gary Schneeberger on Tuesday (Nov. 18). “It’s simply a fact […]

Calif. Fires Destroy Hilltop Monastery

posted by akornfeld

Los Angeles – The wildfires that have burned approximately 40,000 acres and hundreds of homes in Southern California have also destroyed a historic Episcopal monastery set on a hill in Santa Barbara. Nancy Bullock, guesthouse director for the Mount Calvary […]

Faith Groups Ask Obama to Ban Use of Torture

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Hundreds of people rallied outside the White House on Wednesday (Nov. 12) as religious leaders from a number of faiths met with members of Congress while also urging President-elect Barack Obama to sign an executive order banning torture. […]

Study Finds More Conservative, Orthodox Jews Drawn to Prayer Groups

posted by akornfeld

Waltham, Mass. – The dozens of independent Jewish prayer groups cropping up all over the country in the past decade have mostly attracted worshipers with traditional roots, rather than converts or secular Jews, a new study reports. Based on a […]

Gay Activists Rally Outside Mormon Temple in NYC

posted by akornfeld

New York – Carrying signs reading “Love not H8″ and “Did you cast a ballot or a stone?”, a large crowd of gay-marriage supporters gathered outside a Mormon temple to protest the church’s endorsement of a same-sex marriage ban in […]

Vatican Urges Obama Not to Change Stem Cell Policy

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – Roman Catholic Church officials are sending messages to U.S. president-elect Barack Obama, saying they will oppose any changes in U.S. policies on embryonic stem cell research. Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, the pope’s health minister, on Tuesday reiterated […]

Economy Not Getting Faithful Down

posted by akornfeld

Washington – A survey shows religious Americans are less worried about the economy than they are about a “spiritual recession.” The Faithbook on Facebook poll released Tuesday found nearly 72 percent of respondents said such a spiritual recession was more […]

Mormon Comments Give Gays Hope for New Utah Laws

posted by akornfeld

Salt Lake City – Gay-rights activists see opportunities for their cause in Utah thanks to Mormon church officials, who strongly supported California’s proposition denying same-sex couples the right to marry but said they did not object to granting those couples […]

Ruth Graham’s Struggles Led to Ministry

posted by akornfeld

Nashville, Tenn. – Ruth Graham knows firsthand how life can be filled with heartache. The third of evangelist Billy Graham’s five children, she has dealt with a daughter’s teen pregnancies, another’s bulimia and a son’s drug use. She also struggled […]

On Heels of Biden Win, Bishops to Debate Catholics in Public Life

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Last November, the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops overwhelmingly approved a set of guidelines for Catholics to consider before they went to the voting booth. Only four bishops voted against the 36-page document, called “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” […]

American Muslims Relieved, Hopeful at Obama’s Election

posted by akornfeld

After months of balancing their support for the presidential candidate with concerns that their allegiance could do more harm than good, millions of relieved American Muslims cheered the election of the son of a Muslim immigrant whose middle name is […]

Thirty Years Later, Ghosts of Jonestown Live On

posted by akornfeld

In life, the approximately 900 people who followed the Rev. Jim Jones to build a utopian commune in the South American jungle in 1977 were relatively anonymous. But in death, the Jonestown pilgrims became front-page news when they died a […]

Dalai Lama Admits His Approach to Tibet Greater Autonomy Has Failed

posted by akornfeld

The Dalai Lama said Monday that his approach to Tibet’s greater autonomy has so far failed, and that Tibetans should decide for themselves the future direction the region should take. “My trust in the Chinese government has become thinner, thinner, […]

Vatican Hosts Meeting with Muslim Scholars

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – The Vatican is hosting a three-day Catholic-Muslim forum meant to improve relations strained by a speech made two years ago by Pope Benedict XVI that angered many in the Islamic world. The meetings will culminate in a […]

Report: Pope Considering Freeze on Pius Sainthood

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – A Jewish leader says Pope Benedict XVI is considering a request to freeze the sainthood process for wartime Pope Pius XII, who critics say did not speak out enough during World War II to save Jews amid […]

Polygamous Groups Produce Voters’ Guide

posted by akornfeld

Utah’s polygamous groups are once again circulating a voters’ guide that ranks political candidates and their views on issues important to fundamentalist communities. This year’s ratings were based on responses or actions related to campaign ethics and civil rights. Among […]

Paranormal Beliefs Aren’t Always Treated Equally

posted by akornfeld

On Friday (Oct. 31), no one will be surprised to see ghosts and goblins on the loose. But for some Americans, ghosts — along with extraterrestrials, Bigfoot and UFOs — aren’t the stuff of seasonal sightings or tabloid teasers. They’re […]

Democrats Gain Traction with Faith-Based Voter Outreach

posted by akornfeld

When she was director of religious outreach for John Kerry’s Democratic presidential campaign four years ago, Mara Vanderslice could hardly have seemed lower on the campaign totem pole. “I had one unpaid intern who didn’t have a phone,” she said. […]

Vatican Asks End to Religious Violence in India

posted by akornfeld

Vatican City – The Vatican is appealing for an end to religious violence in India, seeking to halt anti-Christian rampages by Hindu extremists. The Vatican used its annual message for the Hindu Diwali festival of light, praising the father of […]

Buddhists Get Engaged in Race for President

posted by akornfeld

By most counts, several times more people live in New York City than practice Buddhism nationwide. So American Buddhists aren’t likely to become a political machine or a crucial swing vote any time soon. But as the religion born in […]

Palin Promises to Work with Israel’s Ambassador

posted by akornfeld

Leesburg, Virginia – Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin told a cheering crowd Monday that Democrats would raise taxes and “punish hard work” if Virginia voters break a 44-year preference for Republican presidents and help send Barack Obama to the […]

Award to Justice Breyer Spurs Catholic Protest

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Fordham University’s plan to give an award to Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has drawn criticism from alumni and the leader of the Catholic church in New York over Breyer’s support for abortion rights. Cardinal Edward Egan has […]

Dalai Lama Says He Has Given Up on China Talks

posted by akornfeld

Dharmsala, India – The Dalai Lama said Saturday he has given up on efforts to convince Beijing to allow greater autonomy for Tibet under Chinese rule. The Tibetan spiritual leader said he would now ask the Tibetan people to decide […]

Poll: U.S. Is Blessed, But Troublesome in the World

posted by akornfeld

Washington – Six in 10 Americans think the U.S. is “uniquely blessed” by God, but a higher percentage — almost eight in 10 — think the country sometimes does more harm than good when it relates to the rest of […]

Justice Department Permits World Vision’s Hiring Policy

posted by akornfeld

Washington – The U.S. Justice Department recently disclosed a 2007 ruling by its Office of Legal Counsel that permitted the relief agency World Vision to keep a $1.5 million grant despite its policy of hiring only Christians. World Vision successfully […]

Holocaust Museum Urges Vatican to Open Archive on Pope Pius

posted by akornfeld

Washington – The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on Wednesday renewed its push for the Vatican to open its archives for Europe’s Holocaust period, saying it would allow historical conclusions to be based on fact and not rhetoric. The call […]

Secular Voters Feel Abandoned, Ignored by Candidates

posted by akornfeld

Lori Lipman Brown has had her fill of God-talk. “It’s a very frustrating time,” said Brown, director of the Washington-based Secular Coalition for America, the first lobbying organization devoted to secular issues. “All of us have been very hopeful that […]

Survey: White Literalists Less Likely to Vote for Minority Candidate

posted by akornfeld

More than eight in 10 white Americans would vote for a racial minority for president, but fewer whites who take the Bible literally or who worship in an all-white congregation would do the same, according to a recent survey. Research […]

All Eyes on California’s High-Stakes Gay Marriage Fight

posted by akornfeld

Pastor Jim Garlow is fasting and praying at his megachurch in La Mesa, Calif., to encourage fellow California evangelicals to vote for Proposition 8, which would amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Jan Garbosky, meanwhile, married her lesbian […]

Episcopal Priest Sanctioned for Professing to Be a Muslim

posted by akornfeld

A Seattle Episcopal priest who claims to be both Christian and Muslim has been restricted from public ministry and will be defrocked unless she “reclaims” Christianity by next April, the Episcopal Church announced. The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding has “abandoned” […]

Lay Catholics Push Back on Abortion and Politics

posted by akornfeld

When Carl Anderson publicly rebuked Sen. Joe Biden last month for opposing the Catholic Church’s stance on abortion, Anderson said he was speaking “on behalf of the 1.28 million” Knights of Columbus in the U.S. Everyone, that is, except for […]

Churches Push Fair-Trade Chocolates for Halloween

posted by akornfeld

Halloween’s a time for pumpkins, costumes, and — if some faith-based groups have their way this year — global market awareness. Faith organizations and congregations around the country are promoting fair-trade chocolate for trick-or-treaters to raise consciousness about conditions and […]

Christians Denounce Attacks by Hindus in India

posted by akornfeld

New Delhi – Indian church leaders said Tuesday that Christians killed in recent clashes were “sacrificial lambs” targeted by hard-line Hindus seeking an advantage in upcoming national elections. The All India Christian Council said the toll after nearly two months […]

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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 »

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posted 2:41:26am Oct. 07, 2013 | read full post »

How can Christians defend themselves against today's random violence?
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Does Sunday Morning Church Really Need All This Glitter, Showmanship and Gimmickry?
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posted 11:26:20am Sep. 20, 2013 | read full post »

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